June 30, 2014

Bringing the Cranky to Fitbloggin' 2014: The Good, The Bad, and the Weird

By Crabby McSlacker

So I'm just back from the Fitbloggin' conference, a large annual gathering of fitness and weight-loss bloggers which was held in Savannah Georgia this year.

Being a cheap-ass tightwad thrifty sort of blogger, I've never sprung for a conference before, so this was my virgin experience. (It's not so much conference fees, which are very reasonable for all that you get, but it's the damned travel and hotel expenses I hate to cough up).

So, what did I learn? What was awesome? What was really surprising? And, this being Cranky Fitness, what kinda sucked?

And yep, as usual I couldn't seem to blog, post to facebook, or tweet more than a quick thank you or two while the event was happening... so the whole live-blogging thing didn't happen. But welcome to the Official Cranky Fitness Deadblog of Fitbloggin' 14!

June 25, 2014

Best Time of Day for Everything

By Crabby McSlacker

First off, I love the auto-fill suggestions search engines come up with, don't you? Because google thought I was wondering about "best time of day to do enema."

(And I'm afraid I didn't hit enter on that one, so I can't tell you when that is. My sincere apologies to any random enema googlers who found their way here).

But anyway, I kept seeing articles saying there's a "best" time to do stuff, so I thought I'd collect a few.  Just in case you were wondering when you should exercise, take your vitamins, think creatively, ask for a raise, shop for super-discounted peanut butter Oreo cookies when no one is there to see you fill your basket, rob a convenience store, or whatever the heck you're trying to plan and optimize.

There's some useful advice to be had, I guess.  My productivity, minimal as it is, has improved greatly since I discovered some tricks along these lines.

And yet... I also find some of these generalizations, particularly the circadian rhythm ones, pretty damn annoying.

Crabby McSlacker... annoyed about something? Shocking, I know!

June 23, 2014

Letting Go of Negative Thoughts and Feelings

image: someecards
By Crabby McSlacker

So does that cartoon seem sexist?  Yeah, well, it's an overgeneralization, but I gotta say I think we women tend to a bit more prone to hanging on to emotionally upsetting stuff than guys are, and mulling it over in our heads and perhaps making it bigger and uglier and more devastating than it needs to be.

As you may have guessed, this is a continuation of the “Catch and Release” post, in which I was talking about the benefits of tuning in more to your inner psychological world, “catching” and “releasing” dumb and counterproductive thoughts and emotions that can drag you down.

And actually, "releasing" or "letting go" is just one way of looking at it. You could use more active, confrontive terminology and be all kick-ass, and talk about fighting negative thoughts and feelings, or heck obliterating or pulverizing or exterminating them.

It's just that I started with the whole "catch and release" theme, and put up a bunch of fishing pictures... and beating the crap out of some poor fish you just caught seems kinda mean, doesn't it?

Another problem? I realized there are so many ways of working with negative thoughts and emotions, and I have so freakin’ many opinions and weird ideas, that I’m just going to start with one basic aspect of it and follow up with more later.

Because while it sucks to feel bad about stuff, there really are tons of helpful tools out there than can help.

June 20, 2014

Coming Attractions

This is just a quick  post,  because:

  1. I don’t have internet other than my phone, because ours is broken and Comcast sucks. And I cannot simply blog on my phone until the repair dude comes, because I am old. This means I had to compose this offline and then run to the public library to find links and photos and put the post up. Which is not only a pain in the ass but could land me in jail because I didn't have time to only use kosher properly licensed photos or give proper credit. Plus:
  2. I am way lazy.  We’ve already established that.

Basically, this is just to say there’s some Summer Stuff on the horizon  which I’m really looking forward to!  And it may impact the whens, whethers, what’s and whatevers of blogging.

So what’s on tap?

June 18, 2014

What Exercise Doesn't Suck as Much as You Think it Will?

By Crabby McSlacker

It may not come as a great shock to those of you who are regular readers, but...

I don't always enjoy my workouts. And I almost never look forward to them.

Yep, some days it's all about sighing and moaning and procrastinating and finally guilting or bribing myself into crossing exercise off the "to-do" list. Especially if strength training or high intensity intervals are involved.

But the totally moronic thing is: I often find myself feeling reluctant and whiny and foot-draggy about fitness activities that I almost always enjoy once I get off my ass and do them.

How screwed up is that?  Why can I not learn, after many repeated instances of non-suckitude, that just physical exertion is not always an odious chore?

Do any of you guys struggle with this?

June 16, 2014

Catch and Release

image: Don Harrison, Up North Memories 

By Crabby McSlacker

So if any of you are fishing fans hoping this might be a post about actual fishing? Sorry! Just another strained metaphor for how to optimize your brain and be happier and that kinda stuff.

Also, the post started to run long, so it's really more like "Catch and R... oh crap, I'm tired, let's finish this puppy up later." So it's just Part One, the "Catch" part.

And yeah, no actual fishing tips.  I'm not an angler.  But as a life and wellness coach, a former psychotherapist, and a lifelong crankpot neurotic whiner who has finally rewired her own brain for the better, I keep marveling at how much more important how we think and feel about the world is than mere flimsy "reality."

Like most of my advicey posts, I'm repeating stuff that has been said a million times before, much better than I can say it, though usually it doesn't come with swear words.  Cranky Fitness readers are already way well-informed, so none of this will be a big News Flash.

Yet we need reminders and motivational encouragement, right? So here's some more cheerleading:

Control your own thoughts and feelings and Rule the World!

But... how the hell do you do that?

June 12, 2014

Jack Rocks the Boat One Last Time

image: wikipedia

Yes, this is our last "Man Overboard" post by guest blogger Jack Sh*t, but fear not!  You can Jacked Up to your heart's content by visiting his excellent blog Jack Sh*t Getting Fit. Thank you so much Jack for taking us along with you on your journey these past months, and we wish you smooth sailing and sunny skies on your lifelong voyage! (Though life being what it is, don't forget to pack plenty of pepto bismol and dramamine)---Crabby

This is the final installment of my Man Overboard series. If you’d like to see the other posts in this series, just click on this link (Ha! Did you really think I was going to go dig up those posts and create a super-convenient way for you to access them? Well then, you don’t know me very well!).

If you’re coming late to the party, allow me to catch you up: My name’s Jack and I run a weight-loss and tire repair blog called Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit. Last year, I decided to start a second weight-loss blog because… well, who knows why I do the things I do?

Long story short (I know – too late, too late), I lost my password and had to spike the project. To repay an old family debt (her uncle leapt on a live grenade saving my grandfather’s life during WWI), I granted the Crankster the opportunity to publish these posts and… okay, okay… I can see that I’m losing you. Without further ado…

June 11, 2014

Don't You Hate...

photo credit: James Vaughan

By Crabby McSlacker

So the title: "Don't you hate" is not an injunction to go around loving everything all the time. It's actually the beginning of a question, like "Don't you hate... creaky crappy machines at the gym that management never ever fixes even though you're paying them a fortune in membership dues?"

Let's bring some Crankiness back to Cranky Fitness, shall we?

Because while I've personally found that the annoying experts are actually right with the whole "try to look on the bright side of things" advice (and as a lifelong whiner and pessimist, I'm getting way better), I think there's a limit to how much we can bullshit ourselves. Sometimes things are unnecessarily aggravating, and especially if there's any Culpability and Blame to toss around, it can be helpful to wallow in self-righteous indignation for a moment or two in order to shake it off and move on.

I may even start an occasional Pissy Post sort of feature!  This would be nothing other than a few petty grievances of mine and a chance for anyone else who wants to gripe, moan, or rant about sundry annoyances of their own, large or small, to chime in in the comments. (But as regulars around here know, I often announce new blog features that never actually materialize.)

Anyway, what's Crabby hatin' on this week?

Jord Watch Giveaway Winner

So, there will be a "regular" blog post up soon, but in the meantime, who won the Jord Watch from our Monthly Goals Checkin post?

June 09, 2014

Does Diet Soda Cause Weight Gain?

photo: loldig
By Crabby McSlacker

One of the most perplexing research findings in recent years, at least to me, is that drinking diet soda leads to weight gain.

Which totally sounds like crazy-talk! Seriously, drinking no-calorie drinks instead of beverages filled with sugar causes you to add pounds, not lose them?

Well, a couple of studies have come out that might be a bit more encouraging to folks who choose diet sodas in an effort to lose weight, especially those who are not obese and are looking to avoid becoming so.

But, does that mean you should run immediately to Costco and buy 437 cases of your favorite sugar-free beverage?

June 08, 2014

Birthdays: Fun? Or Do They Scare the Crap Out of You?

By Crabby McSlacker

Well, I'm not thrilled that the number keeps getting bigger.

54?  How the hell did that happen? I feel... 33.  I'm not sure why that seems like the right number, but it does.  Sure seems a better fit than 54.

How many more birthdays do I even have coming to me?  It's creepy when you pass the halfway mark. Starts feeling really important  to be less of a nitwit about how you spend your remaining years. Some stuff is important and some isn't, and at least one great thing about middle age is finally knowing the difference.

June 06, 2014

How Much is "Too Much Exercise?"

Guest Post by Tiffany Reiss

Can exercise actually be bad for your health? And how much is too much?  It's a complicated issue, and, sadly, requires more than a quick google search to answer. So, being lazy, I thought I'd let Dr Tiffany Reiss take it and run with it! (Though not too far or too fast, as we wouldn't want her to hurt herself.) 

As you may recall, Tiffany is an an exercise physiologist and adjunct faculty member at Seattle University, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, American Public University and Walden University. She is also a contributor for the Sports and Fitness Network and the co-founder of TheHubEdu: A Learning Library.

Please welcome Dr. Tiffany Reiss for another guest post!

Recently more and more articles are appearing in the news, warning of the dangers of too much exercise. Studies have suggested that endurance athletes may damage their health running more than 30 miles a week, that ski marathoners may be more likely to have certain heart problems, and that high mileage runners may have shorter lifespans.

Now this is not a problem many of us need to concern ourselves with in the big picture of our lives. I wish this were an issue I needed to address in my own life, too much exercise. But alas, most of us, myself included, are on the other end of that spectrum, too little exercise and a struggle to even make it to that point. Still, as an exercise physiologist, I have to wonder what might constitute “too much” exercise and what happens physiologically that can actually be dangerous.

June 04, 2014

Time... To Shake Things Up? Goal Support and Jord Watch Giveaway!

By Crabby McSlacker

Time has a way of marching right along, doesn't it? Somehow, summer is here!

(And never mind any foolishness you may have heard about summer starting on June 21st. Solstice, shcmolstice, I say summer starts in June).

Anyway, does anyone else find that sometimes the shifting of the seasons seems to call for new goals, or at least a change in emphasis?  Especially when tried and true approaches to living a healthy fulfilling life get boring or are yielding crappier and crappier results?

Or maybe it's just me.  I know the whole weird shifting from coast to coast thing we do every six months tends to magnify the impact of changing seasons.  

But whether you feel like it's Time for a change or not, it is at least Time for a fun giveaway:

It's a wooden watch from Jord. Besides being stylish and natural and classy, these comes from a sponsor who will ship internationally so this giveaway does NOT require that you be from the United States to enter!

They have both men's and women's watches, but I'm thinking the look is especially dude-friendly, and one might make a great Father's Day gift.  (More about the watch and how you can win one below.)

June 02, 2014

New York State of Mind

By Crabby McSlacker

So I just got back from a few days in New York City, a lucky tag-along on one of the Lobster's business trips.

And, as usual when I travel, I brought my phone and took random crappy pictures with it, lucky readers!

However, you may all be all relieved to know that my cell phone contract is up in a few days, thus enabling the purchase of a new device. We will soon find out if the blurry/cloudy/dim/grainy issues will improve with a technological upgrade, or if a new phone will only confirm that it's the doof behind the camera who needs the upgrade.

Also, sorry, this was going to be our monthly community goal-setting/support/check-in post, but I'm delaying that a few days because we've got a very cool giveaway coming that I want to pair with it, so I'm hoping you guys will stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, please bear with me as I dump the random contents of my phone and brain collected while I was out roaming around in a New York State of Mind.