The Art of Making Sh*t Up at the Gym

Man… today has been one.of.those.days. The kind when all day you drop things, stub your toes, forget your to-do list after meticulously planning it out the night before. Yea, that kind.

My whole day has been comprised of making sh*t up and my workout was no exception. Mysteriously abandoned by my busy Speed Shred compadres I went into the gym this afternoon only to discover no one was there, and not willing to brave the dreaded “solo Shred” (a fate worse than death), I decided to embark on, well… whatever it was that I was going to do.

And I did.                    Gym-Confusion

Not only did I make up my workout plan… but I made up the exercises I did. Though I’m certain I’m not the first to come across these bizarre adaptations of familiar go-to’s, I certainly didn’t look like I was doing anything conventional. It was LIBERATING… like running without a watch. I just went. Did it. Carpe’d the diem, as they say.

There are others out there pushing unconventional means of working out–the big wigs refer to it as  “functional fitness” versus my more crass “making sh*t up,” but call it what you want, it’s awesome. Now for best results, it’s likely better to approach your new-found love for gym freestylin’ with at least a sketched outline of  a plan, just to keep track of progress, though, I’m no expert. These guys are though: check out this article from the New York Times {too legit to quit} on the evolving adoption of functional fitness in gyms and fitness centers. Let your freak flags fly, gym rats! Let’s do this.

Love always.

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{ badge of nerd cred }

Going a different direction today from fitness and gettin’ my nerd on with some fellow journalists and social media freaks. Yes.

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Greetings from Fancy Nerd Camp

Super psyched to be attending the New York Times Social Media Summit today! Ready to learn how to wrangle the beast that is social communication! Stay tuned for tweets and Instagram posts.

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An Old Soul Aches for a Simpler Time

As I sit here, stagnant on my roof, watching the sun go down–orange light bouncing off the Lehigh River–I’m moved by the calming peace this natural beauty presses against me. Massaging my thoughts; the questions have sped like a tornado through my mind leaving behind a wake of unanswered debris that is occasionally stirred by a rogue wind, but for the most part lie heavily weighted on the floor of my mind and in the pit of my stomach.

Boston. Why.

Gusts of September 11th blow through, present in conversations, implicit in our communal confusion. I was 11. Not knowing the significance–and yet knowing it was, indeed, significant–I felt numbly unaware of the immediate shift of the common. Now, the bombing at the Boston Marathon, which is minute in comparison of physical casualties, draws me more heavily to the feeling that I missed before when I was blessed by the immaturity of my 11 years, and I ask myself why. The shift. The feelings of “everything has changed” and “nothing will be the same” permeate my thoughts on the matter, clouding any ability to formulate a careful or poetic dissection that perhaps is lurking under the surface.

Reading article after article, blog after blog, I have nothing original to say, and yet I feel propelled to say it. In spite of the overwhelming feeling of inarticulate fog, a compulsion exists to push forth the chronic tightness that exists in my chest since I first heard about the bombing at the marathon.

Perhaps it is the benefit of an additional 11 years of life experience giving me the maturity to breathe in the fumes of the aftermath, maybe it is because I know and care about many people–colleagues, friends, and loved ones–that were there to experience it (a geographical proximity that I was also removed from on 9/11), maybe because I, too, have stood at that finish line and felt the overwhelming and unconditional positivity of one of the greatest events in America. A resounding echo bounces around my mind “it was the marathon”… “it was THE marathon”… “it was the MARATHON”… each rendition feeling thicker and more cumbersome than the last.

The Marathon… why.

Having had the distinct privilege of watching one of my best friends (and 25,000 others) conquer the 90 degree heat of the 116th race in 2012, having been moved to tears by the unconditional and unwavering camaraderie only a race precipitates, and having been utmostly inspired by the palpable electricity of the environment, the senseless bombing of the Boston Marathon seems undeniably cruel. The marathon is not political, it is not racially charged (unless you count the ever present domination of “the Kenyans”), there is not a mean word spoken by those who make quippy signs and encourage complete and total strangers. The Boston Marathon is a moving party, with thousands upon thousands of your closest friends.

Such an act has not only claimed the lives and limbs of those simply trying to support their fellow humans, but it has left a gaping hole in our concept of humanity; ironically, the marathon is often an event every year that fills our depleted stores of faith in our communities. And in this instance, we’ve gone unfulfilled. Let us not forget, as well, the runners–most of which were fortunately spared harm in this instance–who dedicated hundreds of hours, miles, and determination to make it to and complete the Boston Marathon. Some, unjustly, did not complete a race they will possibly never revisit, and those that did are robbed of the long due congratulations and celebration of an amazing accomplishment.

There will be no celebrating the runners, no celebrating the immense efforts of the Boston Athletic Association, and no collective afterglow of a community event of such a massive scale–and that breaks my heart. Fortunately, in the midst of all the sadness, we can celebrate the efforts and effectiveness of first responders and laypeople willing to lend a hand, donate blood, or offer up a warm bed for those displaced. And that gives us hope–contributing to our now empty stores of faith in humanity–for the future and confidence that good does still exist in the purest of forms.

While my heart sits here, heavily, resting on the bottom of my stomach as the sun has gone down and the bouncing light has faded, the feeling of solitude creeps in. The feeling that I will not be able to say all that I want to. We will not be able to say all that we want to. We will watch this story unfold; suspicion, apprehension, and caution further bogging down our abilities to relate to each other–to connect. Encumbered by our own restlessness, we will drift further from each other, if we continue to snuff out our collective, breathing light. Reports of gung-ho racers still raring for their chance to hit the pavement as race season unfurls into the summer lifts my heart a little, leaving it floating in uncertainty. But no longer bound by the gravity of grief, I believe we can move on.

Yes, everything will change. Another display of purity dismembered. Yet, somewhere in the dispair, the sun will rise again, bouncing its yellow light off the river, calming the tornadic conditions in our souls, allowing us to breathe… allowing us to move, together.

Blogger Beware

WOOPS!

Hackers Attack 90,000 WordPress Blogs.

…what they want with them remains unknown. Kind of silly, really. It’s hard enough to maintain 1 blog. If someone wants to take the reins for a while, be my guest.

It’s a B.E.A.U.TIFUL Day in the Neighborhood

Finally overwhelmed by the excellent weather… I caved. I went for a run.

it helps when the scenery is pretty...

it helps when the scenery is pretty…

After promising myself (and others) for the last few weeks that “this would be the weekend” I would reignite the passion I once had for putting one foot in front of the other (uhh, what?)… I did it! Well, maybe “reigniting passion” is a little over the top, so let’s just say I enjoyed it. Yes.

So, off I went cruising right out of my apartment, down the stairs, and flying out onto the old tow path, only to come to a screeching halt when I hit level ground. That’s right, kids. I was running downhill for my first half mile–no wonder I thought I’d just rekindled a flame with a long lost lover. Oy.

the {semi} clean waters of the Lehigh River

the {semi} clean waters of the Lehigh River

Anyway… I pushed on and managed to eek out 4 beautiful miles along the Lehigh River, finding that my capacity for cardio has not suffered in the months I’ve spent in Speed Shred land (definitely a plus), but to my surprise my muscles did instead! After MONTHS of squats–something is definitely up with the exaggeration schtick today–I figured my legs were going to be good.to.go. Not the case.

Still, it feels quite nice to have that familiar soreness back, though I could do without the pain in my knees and hips, which I’m convinced stems from my back troubles–it’s a challenge feeling 80 when you’re only 23. I’m excited about the prospect of the coming warm weather urging me to go outside and not hunker down in the gym AND I’m excited about bringing my revamped work ethic and workout motivation to running now. Maaayybe I’ll even move off my comfortable 10 minute mile pace. No promises.

Seems like I have indeed found an old flame, and while we’re not rushing back into things, I might meet him for coffee sometime next week.

[ Nutrition That’s Not Rocket Science ]

Getting to the bottom of what we should and shouldn’t be eating is tricky difficult downright impossible sometimes. With the vast array of myths, condemned nutrients (see previous post), and egregiously hailed “easy fixes,” learning how to eat right… and I mean right feels more like a full time job than basic instinct.

Let’s not instead…

Here to break it down for us is a series of two posts on one of my favorite blogs: Girls Gone Strong

What I like about this blog is how simple and easy the language is to follow on all levels. Approaching the content as someone with a decent amount of diet and fitness knowledge–though still learning more every day–I’m confident anyone can understand this one! Additionally, there’s no negative selling, no scare tactics, and no finger pointing. The aim is to gain the knowledge to better yourself in a manner that is clear and friendly, not to isolate those who already feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information–both good and bad–floating around out there!

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Part 1 

Part 2

“The science is continually changing, and vilifying certain macro-nutrients will never be a long-term solution to public health because it hinders people from viewing food holistically.”

Found on the @newhope360 blog, this article discusses the benefits and detriments to Mayor Bloomberg’s mono-directional approach to a healthier diet. While the above quote makes an excellent point, are we neglecting to realize that simplicity delivers the best “results”? Are those the results we want? In some cases, it’s not a stretch to assume we’re forced to “[villify] certain macro-nutrients” to combat the inherent confusion caused by nutrition labels; however, this swinging pendulum approach results in crazes like the 90’s “fat free” bonanza (mentioned in the article) and neglects the idea of balance in diet.

Are we better served by our efforts in simplifying an approach to healthy eating or is the subsequent confusion–no fats, yes fats, good fats, bad fats (I’m a product of the 90’s)–clouding our individual abilities to make sound health decisions? Instead of streamlining, it distracts, confounds, and frustrates.

See the whole article here

“The science is…

Fitocracy: Where Social Media Meets Fitness

Earlier this week I joined Fitocracy–a new online “facebook for fitness” where users can post workouts for points. In ways similar to a video game, Fitocracy tracks your points and progress to advance users through levels, “quests,” and “achievements,” allowing total fitness nerds to join a community of like-minded weirdos!

fitocracy

Or is it…

Granted, I’m a new user, but so far what I’ve found is a bogged down format, a user un-friendly interface, and a sense of isolation. Now, THAT shouldn’t happen in the interconnected world of social media. Perhaps it’s due to the inherent new-ness of the app itself, but in spite of linking my various social media accounts–Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.–I’ve been unable to find MY friends or figure out a good way to search for them (you can only search by username).

Unlike Twitter, in which you can search either username, actual name, or hashtags to filter through the forums gratuitous amounts of content, Fitocracy leaves the user to his/her own devices to sort through whatever content appears in his/her feed. Through an initial “interview” process, in which the app prompts the user for physical information like height, weight, and gender, Fitocracy claims it gathers enough details to place the user in the right–let’s call it a neighborhood–neighborhood of the app, but I can’t help but feel like I’m lost in a new city without a map.

My personal discomfort, I think, boils down to the fact that users don’t seem to be vetted by any kind of system, and even having grown up in the social media, “share everything” generation, I find myself leery of inviting strangers into my workouts.

Can Fitocracy fix this fitness faux-pas, or will it instead amend itself with more users as the app grows?

LIFT More, Lose More — via @womenshealthmag

LIFT More, Lose More — via @womenshealthmag

For years, women have been under the impression that lifting like men will make us gain mass and ultimately those dreaded pounds we’ve been trying to stave off with awful fad diets and even worse—calorie counting; however, the lovely ladies of Women’s Health magazine beg to differ…

Check out this informative article on the slimming effects of lifting heavier weights for fewer reps! (linked above)

…not too shabby, huh?

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