photo: the unquiet librarian
Interview By Crabby McSlacker
"Three Annoying Questions" returns as we ambush the awesome Jen Sinkler!
I've been a fan for years--Jen was the Editorial Director at Experience Life, one of the few non-crappy Health and Fitness magazines out there. Her articles were my faves, as she was generally way ahead of the curve and yet had a no-bullshit down-to-earth take on fitness trends. You can get her "Thrival Guide" free over at her site, and with that comes a newsletter that is actually something you want in your inbox as there as always cool stuff in there.
More details on what Jen's been up to at the end, but meantime, please welcome Jen and stay tuned for her Three Annoying Questions!--Crabby
But, if you're like me, is it possible you ever wrote something open-minded or even glowing about a food or a product or a practice or an idea that in retrospect proved to be kinda crazy-assed? Or even if you didn't write about it, anything you've belatedly discovered you were off-base about?
Alas, I did. (Besides, if you're not constantly evolving your viewpoint and changing your mind, you're not learning, right?)
In the mid-2000s, everyone was super hot for unstable-surface training (UST) — you know, standing all wobbly atop Bosu balls while you press micro-weights (because that's all you could hold without toppling off) as a way to better your balance and increase your core strength.
Well, I fell for it, too — pun intended. I assigned, edited and published an article at Experience Life during that time that glowed like a gorgeous sunset all over UST.
A few years later, and in the same magazine, I was able to right my wrong, and assigned out a second article covering the research on why lower-body UST is not that awesome at all, and how even including 2 percent of it in your training can de-power a healthy athlete. Color me sheepish! (UST is good for rehabbing ankle injuries and it's fine for the upper body, though.) Obviously I had our first version taken offline when we published the second one in 2009 — called "Build Your Balance" — but the first lives on in my mind.
I'm sure there have been others, but that's the one that really stands out.
2. Many Cranky Fitness readers out there love strength training and dislike cardio, and so your brilliant "Lift Weights Faster" concept is gonna really appeal to them. But do you have any advice for their opposites, strength-training slackers like me who want muscles but hate lifting heavy things? I'd prefer not to use my legs for anything more demanding than chasing down ice cream trucks. Is there any hope for us?
Clearly, I have a personal passion for weight training.
But what works best for me isn't always going to be the case for the person sitting next to me -- or interviewing me. The very best exercise you can do is the one you truly love doing. Exercise is a very broad spectrum and if you're looking to get started, my best advice to is to first look at what you truly enjoy doing, be it cycling, swimming, jogging, yogging or Prancercizing. Movement is a gateway drug; once you get in the habit, it becomes something your body craves.
As a caveat, if strength training is something that piques your interest but you are uncertain where to get started, unloaded, bodyweight-only exercises are a great place to start. Think pushup, row, lunge, and squat variations -- you can find a multitude of bodyweight circuits and clear exercise descriptions in Lift Weights Faster. And just think how much faster your legs will be when you're chasing down the ice cream truck once they're stronger and thus able to put more force into the ground with each stride!
In the winter of 2012, I had an overwhelming sense of now or never — either make the leap or admit I was institutionalized (I will say that if there is any place to settle in, it would have been Experience Life). I was happy where I was, but I was even more curious to see what would happen if I ventured out on my own. I believe in following your gut and according to my gut, I was ready enough.
Easier or harder than I thought? I'll just say this: Working for myself is an amorphous shitshow — it takes new directions and assumes new shapes all the time — but it's my shitshow. All mine. And it's wonderful.
Jen Sinkler provides intel on intuitive training, Olympic lifting, kettlebell training and other "weighty" issues, as well as sane nutritional strategies, easy recipe prep, dressing well in the gym, and living life as your best self over at her website, Thrive.
This spring, she released her 130-workout conditioning program, Lift Weights Faster which provides a quick-n-dirty, treadmill-free option for getting in bangin' shape.
Does the notion of Lifting Weights Faster Appeal to any of you guys? Ever took a leap of faith like Jen and left a safe situation to do your own thing? Ever been wrong about a fitness trend?