April 30, 2014

Kumquats! The Super-Freaky Superfood You Should Seriously Consider Checking Out

So I recently fell in love with the bizarre fruit known as the kumquat.  It's intensely tasty, plus it's nutritious and low cal.  It's sort of like eating little marmalade bullets, sweet and sour and bitter all at once, but with no jammy guilt or anything.

Yet kumquats must have really crappy social skills! Or the poor fruit hasn't figured out it needs some PR and marketing help.  Because even though I've always been vaguely aware they existed, I hadn't ever actually tried one until this year.

Kumquats are hard to find in stores, even in season. I finally scored some at a farmers market after a friend turned me on to them, approximately 50 years after I first heard of them.  (It didn't help that all these years I had them confused with loquats, which as kids we used to steal off neighbors' fruit trees and called them kumquats. But loquats are an entirely different fruit. Loquats are yellow and smooth-skinned and not citrusy, and have a big-ass seed in the middle. They are tasty too, if you have a nearby tree to steal from).

So, what's so awesome about kumquats anyway?

April 29, 2014

Man Overboard: Jack Keeps Making Waves

Jack is Back!

And not just on Cranky Fitness either; he returned from his reign in Spain a few weeks ago, and he's as funny as ever over at Jack Sh*t Gettin' Fit.  (My recent fave: his 5 Year Anniversary post. Note to self: steal that idea!)  But here Jack takes a different tack, to use yet another nautical metaphor, and shifts tone a bit.

So, as Crabby gets her own lazy post-vacation blog-challenged butt back in front of the laptop to recount a thrilling experience and shocking discovery in the produce aisle (which she will likely bore you with tomorrow), please welcome Jack back! --Crabby

Man Overboard Continued...

By Jack Sh*t

A funny thing happened on my way to creating a super-secret weight-loss blog where I could write seriouser… no, more serious… no, seriousier is right, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

Anyway, I started a blog project called Man Overboard where I could bitch and moan and whine and not be such a goofball like I am on my regular gig (Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit).

Because here’s the thing: I struggle with this healthy-living stuff just like most of you do. I keep my regular site light-hearted for the most part because that’s just the way it’s evolved over the five years I’ve been blogging, but still… I struggle.

April 28, 2014

New Habit Experiment: A Simple Trick to Make 'Em Stick

By Crabby McSlacker

New habits can be uncomfortable, right?

Our old habits just don't want to let go--they are deeply wired in our brains, comfy and familiar and sneaky because they are nearly invisible. We don't even think about them.

Which is mostly a good thing, right?  If you had to consciously re-think and plan how to get out of bed in the morning and ambulate to the bathroom and figure out what to do in there, then go to the kitchen and re-decide each day how to make your coffee and what to put in it and what vessel to drink it out of, you would probably get even less done in a day than Crabby McSlacker.

But sometimes we want to change an old habit or add a new one.  Healthy habit formation is one of the most annoying, pain-in-the-ass, but essential challenges if you're trying to enjoy a lifetime of good health and reasonable fitness.

The problem is, most often your brain will go along with the new program for a good two minutes while the executive part is in charge.  Then the busy executive will get distracted with busy executive things and your unconscious lizard brain will take over.  And it will likely say: "Nice try. But  f--ck that, I'm going back to our comfortable old way of doing things since you're not paying attention anyway, you bossy buttface."

Or at least that's what my lizard brain says. Yours may be a bit more polite.

So anyway, this is just an experiment in one aspect of adopting new habits. It been around since the beginning of time. But the way I'm using it is new for me and so far I have ONE, count 'em, it, ONE success and I'm hoping to build on it.

What's the trick?

April 24, 2014

Scale Giveaway Winner

By Starving Bitch
As promised, we are going to give away the scale from the Review we did here, Cranky didn't run away with your prize, I tackled her at the border with it and I have now secured the goods and am ready to give it to the lucky winner.

The Lucky winner is....drumroll please......

Yay Therese. Congratulations. Please make sure to contact Cranky within the next few days at crabby mcslacker at gmail.com and let her know your address so we can get this mailed out to you.

And if you didn't win but want to check out the discount, follow this link for Amazon and the coupon code GURUS020 and the coupon code will be available until the end of April.

April 23, 2014

Rashes and Recalls: Fitbit Force Bites The Dust (Plus Brief Fitbit One Review)

Fitbit Force
By Crabby McSlacker

Remember my Fitbit Force Review back in January?  I was pretty darn happy with it, except for the crappy fastener that wouldn't fasten.  I didn't much concern myself with reports of skin problems, because I personally didn't have one. Fitbit uses the same sort of materials everyone else does, so I figured it wasn't a big deal.

In fact, I'd become neurotically dependent on the information the Fitbit delivered.  It really is motivating to track step counts and miles for the day, and aim for a nice big number. Especially if you are, like me, a recreational snacker who sucks at portion control.

(Note: I'm not trying to encourage my arguably eating-disordered approach to weight management--but be assured, I am too lazy to be one of those folks like the woman at my gym who gets on MY elliptical and stays there all morning long. But for my own weight maintenance, I do favor a "more is better" approach to daily activity in addition to HIIT and strength training etc.)

But anyway, since a number of people were starting to complain of rashes, Fitbit did the responsible thing and stepped up and offered a Force Recall with a Full Refund for anyone who bought one.

And so with comically coincidental timing, I came down with a rash mere hours after Fitbit announced the recall.  Suggestible much?  Sheesh!

But they don't seem to have a Next Generation Force out there yet to replace it with. And it belatedly occurred to me that a full refund for the amount I paid for my review sample would amount to exactly $0.00. 

So I was faced with the dilemma: what do next?  Do I replace my Force and if so, with what?

April 21, 2014

When Fitness Doesn't Suck at All

By Crabby McSlacker

This was originally going to be a long rambling photo-filled post about trying (and often failing) to make healthy choices while on vacation.

The short version?

I did pretty well on exercise but I made some pretty egregious choices when it came to food.  I am so not the "role model" kind of health blogger, but you guys already knew that.

April 17, 2014

Weight Gurus Scale: Review and Giveaway

(Photo above swiped from website.
It doesn't actually look much like this.)

Review by Starving Bitch

StarvingBitch here with another Review of a product that the gallivanting Cranky was unable to play with herself. I suppose frolicking with Lions, Tigers and Bears was more fun than doing a review.

So here I am. Decided to pull out the paperwork and sit down and read it while I wolfed down some Mexican Lasagna for lunch followed by some slightly stale yellow peeps for dessert. Because if nothing, I am committed to this weight loss journey.

So the nice folks over at  Weight Gurus, sent me a weightless series basic body scale.  (Note: they've got a special discount going during launch and an additional $5 off coupon for Cranky Fitness readers for a total of 50% off MSRP, if you decide you're interested).

The introduction in the manual was a great quote "The past does not predict, nor does it dictate your future." I'm such a quote whore that I really just fell in love with that. It falls right in line to my thinking of no matter how much I get knocked down I keep getting up and trying. That's all you can do in life.

April 16, 2014

Beginning Aqua Aerobics for Cowards: Hotel Pool Edition

By Crabby McSlacker

Yes, we did indeed just have a post about aqua-aerobics! But that was a real one, a guest post written by someone who actually knows something about it.

This is the lame-ass, totally illegitimate guide directed at people like me who:
  • Hate getting into water because it is cold and wet;
  • Don't swim well;
  • Don't like water up their nose;
  • Are too lazy and/or intimidated to sign up for a class and actually learn how to do stuff properly;
  • Have a multitude of other complaints about pool-based activities (like racoon goggle eyes, ill fitting swimsuits, inconvenient location/hours, toxic chlorine, and the probability that kids have peed in the water); but, who
  • Have accumulated enough joint pain, injuries, boredom or burnout to make taking advantage of a totally different form of exercise that is suddenly conveniently available sort of intriguing.
So yeah, I'm sparing you more South Africa pictures today to share my hotel-pool aqua-aerobic workout experience, should you be planning to travel anywhere and want to toss in a bathing suit and give it a shot.

April 15, 2014

Holy Crap Cranky Fitness is SEVEN Years Old Today!

By Crabby McSlacker

Photo: Kiwi Morado

Seven Years? How the hell did that happen?

I won't bore you with a lot of musings on blogging today.  It's April 15th and some of you might have more important things to attend to.

But I did just wanna say a big and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who shows up here--no matter how off-topic, trivial, or silly the content might be. You guys are the reason Cranky Fitness never quite dies off! Which is either a good thing or an incredible disservice to humanity. I think the jury is still out on that one.

I've wandered away for long periods, and yet when I come back, some of you are still here to give me another chance. Which totally makes me a happy and grateful crab.  Plus, Cranky Fitness commenters are world-renowned for their generosity, humor, patience, common sense, cleverness, and kick-ass attitudes.

Oh, and one more thing: we've got a new About Page, somewhat re-edited and updated. It now includes a few more photos and introduces a couple of regular blog contributors, Starving Bitch and Research Nancy. (I'm still fantasizing about forming some sort of partnership with a smart-ass social-media ninja who for some reason is willing to align themselves with the Cranky brand and take over the world with me for nothing other than speculative future income. Folks who thought they had time to help simply didn't! So if you inquired earlier and I lost your email, please nudge me.)

Anyway, happy tax day, and thanks again everyone!!!!!!

April 14, 2014

South Africa Adventures Continued... and Continued and Continued

By Crabby McSlacker

Yep, still more travel pictures and tales even after the Cape Town photos and the Safari animal picture dump--and there will probably be yet one more post after this one! So I appreciate your forbearance as I prattle on about this trip a bit longer.  Cranky Fitness readers, like ultra-marathoners, are famous for their patience and endurance.

But on the plus side, we've got Thrills and Adventure and The Virtues of Challenging Yourself, which is arguably health related, right?  And there is even an X-rated series of wild photos! Parental discretion is advised.

So anyway, I know everyone's idea of a Perfect Vacation is different.  My ideal would be a little bit of everything: excitement and adventure; a chance to learn about new places and people; some time to appreciate natural beauty; a chance to be pampered and indulged; and even some opportunities to make reasonably healthy active choices, but in a totally different refreshing environment. Oh, and bonus if someone else is paying for the whole thing and it's completely ridiculously high-end.

We got lucky, because this trip was all of that stuff.

April 11, 2014

Post-Workout Snack Recipes

You gotta figure if the word "recipe" is in the title, this is going to be a guest post--Crabby is not known for her culinary skills.  And snack recipes?  Crabby's is: "grab 1 handful of mixed nuts. Repeat.  Repeat again.  Repeat yet again, adding a few squares of dark chocolate and a heaping portion of self-recrimination.  Approach nuts yet again... stop. Curse. Leave kitchen.  Repeat again in a few hours."

So yeah. Hooray for Steph from a  A Life without Ice Cream who actually knows how to make things!

Steph is an Ottawa blogger who has been living dairy-free for over a decade. Committing to a healthy lifestyle over 5 years ago, she got her butt in gear, learned to love fitness, and lost over 90lbs. Although she has been tweaking and creating recipes for ages, she started A Life without Ice Cream  to document recipes and keep the healthy living conversation going.  Steph is not a nutritionist, just someone who enjoys food and loves creating new recipes!

So please welcome Steph!--Crabby

Hey there Cranky Fitness readers!

I’m a long time reader of Cranky Fitness so when I saw the opportunity to share some of my favourite post-workout snacks with you I couldn't resist. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about post-workout snacks. It’s a tricky thing. Sometimes I come home from the gym or a run and could literally eat anything in my way. Wash an apple? Who has time? HUNGRY! Other times I don’t feel even a little hungry, but the next day, watch out. There’s a lot of debate out there about what you actually “need” after a good workout, but my rule of thumb is if you’re legitimately hungry, you should eat something. Even better, eat something healthy that gives you tons of energy.

April 09, 2014

Spotted in South Africa...

By Crabby McSlacker

Will Cranky Fitness go back to being a health and fitness blog someday?

April 07, 2014

Quick Note from the Wilds of South Africa

I'd be lyin'...

If I said this trip wasn't a peak experience.

We have about 47,000 photos so far, and still counting. Yet we have very little internet connectivity, and virtually no free time to upload photos. We are being spoiled rotten but are also tightly scheduled... and I ain't complainin'!

More coming... can't wait to check in with y'all!

April 05, 2014

Aqua Aerobics: Getting Started

photo: wikipedia

This next guest post is by Becky Flanigan, who writes for An Apple Per Day. Becky says she finds it "a fun experience to be writing at her desk, with her calico cat Patches curled up on the corner of the desk supervising her work. When she’s done, it’s off to coffee with good friends." 

So the whole topic of Aqua Aerobics seemed like another great one to leave to a guest poster, as Crabby herself has not spent much time in any sort of pool in the last few decades.  Why not? Well, duh--it's WET in there!

But guess what?  After reading this submission, and then finding herself in a hotel that had a big hole in the ground with heated water inside, Crabby felt unusually inspired. She donned a suit and invented her own weird-ass routine which she may bore you with later you can read about here:
Beginning Aqua Aerobics for Cowards.

But please welcome Becky with a much more helpful post!

Tips To Start an Aqua Aerobics Fitness Routine

Several of your friends have raved about aqua aerobics, so you've decided to try it. But other than walking past a water class at the local gym, you don't really know what it’s all about, or how to start.

Here are some thoughts about getting started with aqua aerobics.

April 01, 2014

Cape Town Capers and Captures

By Crabby McSlacker

Yep, we made it to Cape Town after 30 hours of planes and airports and shuttles and close connections, fought off jet lag (with the help of various caffeinated beverages), and spent a day roaming around with our camera.  So this is yet another Cranky Fitness photo dump that will take a hundred f--king years to load if you don't have a fast internet connection. Sorry!

Oh, and remember how I just did the whole crappy droid test post so I figure out how to blog while traveling without internet? Such a brilliant move considering (a) my phone doesn't work here, and (b) the hotel has wireless so I can use my laptop. (Though when we join up with the Lobster's corporate sponsors in a few days, there is some mention of some sort of sim card thingy, so who knows, hastily blogged crappy camera phone shots may return at some point).

But the no-droid situation was actually an excellent development, because it forced us to drag out the real camera, which we just bought a new lens for, and try to figure out how to work the darn thing.

However, it brings up a difficult question I've been pondering, and the theme for this post since it doesn't seem to have much of one:

How do you capture a sense of a foreign destination without being a total asshole and pointing a camera at the people who live there?

Especially if you are just an annoying tourist and not a real photographer or anything?