April 30, 2015

Resveratrol Health Benefits: What Does the Research Say?

Guest Post by John Fawkes

This next guest post includes an awesome assemblage of research on a confusing health topic--the sort of post Crabby has given up even trying to write since she got so lazy busy.  So yay for that! And for those of us who enjoy red wine and cheerfully rationalize our consumption on health grounds, it might be interesting to discover if the purported benefits of resveratrol are real or bogus.  So please welcome John Fawkes, about whom you can learn more at the end of the post.  He's got an entertaining blog of his own and you may want to think about visiting him there!--Crabby

Is Resveratrol just an excuse to get drunk, or will it turn you into the highlander?

Resveratrol. By now, you’ve probably read about five different articles about how it might just allow us to turn back the clock on aging, so we can live long enough to see the first Mars colony. You’ve probably read about how it can cure cancer, burn fat, build muscle, and make you smarter. Or maybe you’ve just heard about it from some wine snob you know, bragging about how damn healthy he is while getting drunk on a bottle of 2002 Douchenozzle Reserve.

Resveratrol is a chemical produced by a variety of plants as an immune response against fungi, but the highest concentrations are found in the skins of wine grapes, and by extension, in red wine. It naturally occurs in two forms, cis-resveratrol and trans-resveratrol, with trans-resveratrol being the bioactive form that produces all of the alleged health benefits. A glass of red wine might contain anywhere from .15 to 1.5 mg of trans-resveratrol per glass.

For a while in the 2000’s, it really looked like resveratrol was some kind of miracle drug. Every year, a few more studies would come out demonstrating benefits to longevity, cardiovascular fitness, and brain health. But then two funny things happened.

April 28, 2015

Cranky Fitness Goes to Hong Kong

By Crabby McSlacker

So yep, we're back from our adventures in Hong Kong and Bali! And, as I promised threatened earlier, here's a quick recap--at least of the first part of our trip.

And okay, we've been back a week already. But, in my defense: it's been hella busy in Crabland.

Still bleary from the long-ass flight and 15 hour time difference (which is actually only a 9 hour difference if you just write off a day, but 15 sounds more impressive doesn't it?) we dived right into a crapload of chores. We unpacked, cleared out our San Diego condo and got it ready for rental, repacked, and jumped in our car and drove to Texas.  (Plus we got chased by a few tornadoes the last day, which made it quite exciting for us coastal-dwelling gals. We may yawn during earthquakes or hurricane warnings but are a little leery of the whole twister thing, what with the prospect of flying cows and wicked witches and softball-sized hail and all).

The storms were moving northeast.
That scared-looking little blue dot? That's us.

But anyway, we made it safe and sound to our Frisco Texas stopover and will fly to Provincetown this weekend.  Meantime, now that we are not moving for a few days, here's a bit about our recent travels.

April 23, 2015

Move It to Lose It

Guest Post By Jan Bono

Crabby is still trying to get her act together after returning from Hong Kong and Bali, waylaid by chores involved packing up for a cross-country relocation.  (And yes, talk about your First World Problems.) So she apologizes for major blog slackitude on her part.  Good thing though that ace contributor Jan Bono has more insights to share about her astounding weight loss journey! Remember you can get her book at Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey” either in print or on Jan's smashwords page. And the apologetic crab hopes to be back next week!--Crabby

I’ve been roughly “at goal weight” now for several years, but I can vividly recall the monumental effort to sign on the dotted line at our local fitness center. At the time, I was still over 350 pounds, and wanted absolutely nothing to do with public exercise.

I mean seriously, what if someone I knew saw me there? What if I heard snickers from other people working out? How could I possibly justify the expense when I was pretty sure I’d never stick with it for the length of a single 3-month contract?

April 20, 2015

Take My Picture Here! Things I Love About Traveling Fitter and Smaller

Guest Post by Genie

Yep, travel is a recurring theme here at Cranky Fitness lately! Crabby has been off gallivanting around the globe and has just returned in a predictably comatose state, muttering incoherent curses as she contemplates the ceiling-high pile of stinky laundry and the prospect of imminent cross-county relocation.  But be assured she will be back soon to bore you with tales and photos.  

So here are some more thoughts on travel from one of our favorite guest posters, Genie. (Check out her previous posts here and here and here). Since Crabby has never been heroic enough to shed large numbers of pounds herself, she was quite intrigued about the before-and-after-weight-loss perspective on travel.  So please welcome Genie back again to Cranky Fitness!--Crabby 

We love to travel. It’s sometimes all I can think about. We’ve learned how to travel cheaply while staying safe and having an amazing time. In the past, I’ve been a “trooper” dealing with a lot of difficulties to travel as a really heavy and out of shape woman. The trip to Rome and the surrounding region in 2011 was particularly rough and may have been in the back of my mind when I decided to get healthy. This past holiday we went back to Rome and then on to Bologna to base ourselves in the Emilia Romagna for 17 days. It was glorious. Oh, the art, the architecture, and Yes! The food!!!

April 17, 2015

Guess Again--Where is Crabby NOW?

By Crabby McSlacker

 (A land of strange flesh-colored tides, apparently.
Or of bloggers too lazy to crop lens/finger convergence problems).

When I tried this last time, some of you guessed I was in Hong Kong in about 30 seconds. You are far more worldly than I am, which is awesome! But what the hell, let's try it again.

First hint: you can tell by the flattering hairstyle and the snorkeling mask imprint on my face in the photo above that I have been submerged in water. So they have that here.

And probably some of you extremely clever folks with knowledge of international airline routes and stopovers have figured out our destination already. But to continue with some more clues...

April 10, 2015

Where the Heck is Crabby?

By Crabby McSlacker

So we're on the first hop of our journey... and as I threatened, I thought I'd see if there are any good guessers out there who could figure out where I am. 

April 09, 2015

OCD and Obesity: Willpower vs. Won’t Power

photo: cheezburger

By Jan Bono

By this time, contributor Jan Bono needs no introduction! (Although if you haven't yet, you may still want to consider buying her book “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey” either in print or on Jan's smashwords page). At the moment I'm off traveling--and most likely, not exercising any willpower whatsoever. So it's nice to have have someone put in a good word for it!--Crabby  

I’d love to blame my father’s side of the family for my “Obesity Gene.” Dad was one of eight siblings, five boys and three girls, and I’m fairly certain that none of them spent any of their adult lives under 220 pounds.

But I’m also fairly certain that both hereditary and environmental factors gang up on a person to create a bona fide Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, and in my personal definition of OCD, overeating definitely qualifies.

So what do you think? Is OCD found more in the genes or is it a learned behavior? Is it something that lives deep within our DNA, or did I pick mine up by watching my mother fanatically try to keep an immaculate house with four small children underfoot?

April 06, 2015

Packing for Healthy Travel Adventures

photo: pixabay

By Crabby McSlacker

So yeah, I'm lucky enough to be married to a globe-trotting corporate go-getter. Since I'm a flexible semi-employed slacker, and an enthusiastic tagalong/leech, I get to travel a lot. Awesome, right?

But for those of us who are somewhat neurotic about health and fitness, travel comes with a few challenges.  In particular, there is often tension between two competing agendas:

On the one hand: life is short!  I want to dive headfirst into all the exciting and delicious and possibly excessive experiences that traveling to a novel destination may provide. Because who knows when I will ever be back? Live for the moment! Savor! Wallow!

On the other hand: I travel too often to go into full WTF mode every time I leave home.

Art: Harold Anderson via James Vaughan

Not only would it be dangerous for my long term health; I can't even enjoy myself if I don't keep to at least a semblance of a healthy routine. Feeling too gluttonous, slothful, and guilty can put a damper on any potential peak life experience.

Plus, even without decadent travel temptations, maintaining some sort of healthy balance requires a fair amount of extra effort on the road. Advance planning has to make up for lack of access to one's usual "go-to" resources.

As it happens, I'm packing up today for another adventure. We leave tomorrow! And as I get ready for our trip, I realize that a huge percentage of the items I'm tossing into the suitcase bear at least some relation to health and fitness.

Wanna see some of the stuff I'm taking along?

April 03, 2015

5 Things You Should be Doing in the Gym (and 5 Things That Waste Your Time)

Guest Post by Carly Pizzani

It can be hard enough to motivate yourself to take the plunge and join a gym, but what the heck are you supposed to do once you get there?  Years ago I wrote a goofy post on How Not to Make an Ass of Yourself Your First Time at the Gym, and it was a lot more popular than it should have been for being such a goofy post. I suspect it was because so many people are a little gymtimidated, which if it isn't a word really should be. Anyway, so for some better advice on optimizing your gym experience, please welcome Carly Pizzani, a certified personal trainer with an awesome blog Fine Fit Day! (And there's more info on Carly at the end).  --Crabby

When you join a new gym, one of the perks often thrown in with your membership is a complimentary session with a personal trainer. They’re trying to get you signed up for training, of course, but as a trainer who used to work in a gym, I can tell you that maybe one in ten of those free sessions ever amounts to actual sessions sold. I always tell people joining a gym to book that free session and use it to pick the brain of the fitness professional you’re paired with - how often do you get a one-on-one with someone whose whole career is built around what to do (and not do!) in your workout to really get results?

For those of you who don’t have this option, I thought I’d put together a list of what I wish regular gym-goers knew to save themselves time, to get results and to maximize their effort working out.