All posts tagged: Fitness

The Glow of A Warrior Woman

The sun is a glowing ball of fire in the sky and every pore of my body is sweating. I’m on mile three of the morning run, jogging along manicured lawns in an upscale neighborhood outside of Bangkok. The smell of the morning air is a mix of dampness, jasmine, car exhaust and tropical decay. The Thai sunrise looks different to me, seeing it from the other side of the world from my home. That ball of fire in the sky glows a different orange-pink, not a typical yellow, which I learn later might be air pollution. A few weeks after the US election last year I decided I didn’t need to keep delaying my craziest dreams. Reality was upside down, so why keep waiting to see the world? I booked a ticket to go with my Muay Thai boxing gym for a two-week fight camp in Thailand. I’ve traveled internationally maybe four times. I came to martial arts two years ago, after recovering from some chronic health issues. I wanted to celebrate beating the …

I Got in the Best Shape of My Life at 50…And Then 55 Hit

At forty-nine, I was resigned to being over the hill — an overweight couch potato who avoided exercise and ate pastries with abandon. Walking up a flight of stairs left me winded, but I attributed that to middle age. I was getting old, after all. Then, seven months before my 50th birthday, I got the wake-up call that changed my life: A routine lab test revealed that I had Type 2 diabetes. As a physical therapist, I knew what havoc this disease could wreak on a body. I’d treated patients with diabetes-induced neuropathy, blindness and, in severe cases, amputations that began with an infected toe and led to bilateral lower-leg prostheses. I was shocked and terrified and suddenly determined to beat this condition back with everything I had. I downloaded the Couch-to-5k running app on my phone and started. Designed for couch-sitters like me, it started out so gently it was almost laughable. “Run for 60 seconds,” the voice intoned through my ear buds. A minute? Who couldn’t run for a minute? As it turned …

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My Body F-ing Rocks

One of the great things about getting older (I am 39 this year) is a better understanding of what you need for a life that is meaningful, purposeful and satisfying. The problem is, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. You can’t be online for more than three seconds without being bombarded by images of young, invariably thin women frolicking on a beach somewhere or exercising gleefully with perfect hair, nails and skin gleaming in the sunshine. How can anyone keep up with that? Forget anyone; how can you and your ever-changing (and ever-aging) body keep up with that? We can’t. I can’t. So rather than wasting more energy lamenting it – as I did in my 20s and 30s – I am letting go and remembering something really cool: My body rocks. [pullquote]When I say that I have an ass that doesn’t quit, I literally mean it: I have an ass that doesn’t quit.[/pullquote] I am a biologist. I spent years and years getting my PhD and, while I will spare you my dissertation, the …

Keep Climbing: How Bouldering is Similar to Recovery

Athletic, I am not. Drunk or sober, it makes no difference — “active” activities have never been an important part of my life. They’ve never been a part of my life period, with the exception of reformer Pilates, which I only recently started seriously practicing on a regular basis. I was into doing at-home yoga for a time, but that was back when I was often quite sauced, so my video-guided workouts consisted of a few cat/cow poses, maybe a couple of downward dogs, followed by a straight-up vodka martini while I sat back on my mat and watched the rest of Rodney Yee’s masterful technique. It was just a couple of months ago that my husband convinced me to try indoor bouldering, courtesy of Groupon’s discounted class and weeklong membership to Brooklyn Boulders. And THEN I remembered that I not only liked it, but I had also made a metaphorical connection to recovery while our instructor was explaining the basics of the bouldering technique. And once I hit that climbing wall myself, I realized just how …

Songs We Worked Out To in the ’80s (If We Worked Out At All)

Back in the 1980s, working out wasn’t inextricably linked to music, the way it is today. There weren’t Zumba songs or “Jock Jams.” We didn’t listen to playlists oriented by BPMs. We didn’t have a handy, clippable iPod touch. Yes, we had our Sony Walkmans, but I had nightmares of trying to “jog” with that thing affixed to nylon shorts and watch it crash to the ground. While the ’80s saw the advent of aerobics, and Jane, and Olivia, of course, we did our jumping jacks to whatever music was bouncy. I remember taking a “dance fitness” class in 8th grade and my young teacher playing the Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon,” which we thought was the coolest thing ever, if completely inappropriate for Jazzercise. So we conducted a purely unscientific poll of friends, asking people what music they worked out to back then, and found a wide range of tunes — from the obvious to the obscure. We say, whatever moves you. Good For:  Aerobics 1.0  “Can You Feel It” — The Jacksons Everyone remembers the …

Worst in Class: Attempting the New Workout “Beastanetics”

I have never been remotely sporty. The only Olympic event I watch with any regularity is figure skating, and the sole game my softball team ever won was the one I missed. When we ran long-distance in high school, one of my stoner friends and I discovered a shortcut that gave us time to smoke half a joint in the woods and still amble out in time to meet the rest of the class as they were winding down their jog. I hesitate to say it because it’s such a cliché, but it’s true; I was always picked last for teams in school. However, this wasn’t particularly scarring for me because I didn’t want to there in the first place. Not surprisingly, as I’ve gotten older and fatter, my athleticism has deteriorated even further. Muscles I never even knew I possessed now hurt and even worse, my joints scream in revolt if I jump or run too vigorously. I take the same supplements they give Labrador Retrievers for bum hips. Yet, unlike in high school, …

The TueDo List: New Year, Little Changes

We’re kicking off the year with an eye toward change — just one small thing, for 30 days, and yes, weekends count. You can go for it over the weekend and be super active in your fitness routine, relationship, or whatever other kinds of goals you’ve set, or kick back and make plans to kick butt come Monday. Whatever you decide, here are some ideas for your first weekend of 2015. Read It’s one of my 2015 plans to read more, and I’ll be participating in TueNight’s 30-day challenge by reading at least a book a week. I got some Amazon cash for Christmas, so I think I’m going to get an e-reader. The Kindle was chosen for me, but do I want a Voyage? Or a Paperwhite? I can’t decide. But I’ve held out with just paper for a long time, and since I’m so connected for work and for regular life, if I want to read more (and I do!), I think I have to put books in front of myself in as many forms as possible. Even if I never, ever give up the …

Margit’s Note: We’ve Got Game

Ah, gym class. The girl driving down the court for the reverse layup. The girl smoking clove cigarettes behind the bleachers. You might have been one or the other, or a combination of both. We have a love/hate relationship with sports, after all. We love to run, we hate to run, we love the game, we’d rather be reading a book. But thank god we have the option. Here at TueNight HQ we’ve been talking a lot about Title IX — the landmark civil rights law that allowed for (among other things) girls to get a fair shake in athletics. Enacted in 1972, it’s about as old as we are. And many of us — and our children, nieces, sisters — have directly benefitted from it. So this week we’re looking at the subject of Sport, a word that connotes frivolity and leisure as much as it does competition. We like to think we’re good sports. Bethanne Patrick gives us two books that offer what it takes to win in Front to Backlist. We have two stories …

A History of My Life in Diets

It’s time. Or at least that’s what I’ve said every time, since about 1982. It’s always time and never time to lose weight. There’s always a new artisanal grilled cheese shop waiting for me to experience. Damn you, Brooklyn. But this time it’s different. This time I’m in pain. You mean vanity hasn’t prompted me to try and lose weight? Nope. The fact that I’m a fashion hound and can’t shop anywhere but tasteful and drape-y Eileen Fucking Fisher? Nope. That I do my best to afford a first-class ticket so I don’t have to worry about oozing into my neighbor’s seat? Nope. The fact that my little niece likes to giggle and say to me, “You’re fat!” and then slap my belly with her pint-sized paw. Nope. And funny, that thing called love. My husband and I like to tell each other, “Every day is not a celebration.” Because sometimes, happiness is yet another great excuse not to worry (or care) about losing weight. How did I get here? Years and years, my friend. …

The Truth About Fitness Trackers: How Well Do They Really Work?

Last spring, I participated in my first triathalon. While I was training, whether I was in the pool, running, or on the bike, I began to notice some very fancy-looking fitness trackers that fellow workout fanatics were wearing. And I decided that I, too, wanted to track my progress as I prepared for my first major fitness milestone. But what kind of tracker did I want? A Fitbit? The Nike Fuel Band? A Jawbone UP? I began to ask around to see what people liked and why. I knew that I needed one that worked in the water because I love to swim, but I also didn’t want to spend a fortune. Luckily for me, soon after I started my investigation, I ran into a friend at a party who was wearing a very sleek-looking, modernistic watch. But it wasn’t just a watch! It was the $120 Misfit Shine — an attractive tracker that works in water AND doesn’t look like an aircraft-to-land satellite tracking device. Eureka! I had to have it. A depressing fact …

Just a Moment: When I Met Richard Simmons

It’s my first trip back to NYC after having my first baby. I am meeting a friend on West Broadway, hoping to squeeze in half an hour of shopping to feel, you know, somewhat like the pre-baby version of myself. I pop into a consignment store and find a fun pair of shoes for $34. As I bring my find to the counter, I pull out my wallet and hear, “You. Are. Beautiful.” Sleep deprived, sans make up, stringy hair. This person can’t be talking to me. I turn to see a familiar face, but it takes me half a minute to place him. The hair has thinned, he’s a smaller version of his former, fit, self. But the voice is undeniable. It’s him. And he’s not talking to me. “You are gorgeous,” he says to my friend. She laughs. I can tell she doesn’t register who he is. He turns to me, “You’re pretty, too.” Ah, the consolation… but nice of him, nonetheless. “I need a picture with you two! C’mon, let’s get a …

You Spin Me Right Round: The Benefits of Finding a Workout You Love

I approach my workouts as a chore, like doing the laundry. When you hit middle age, not exercising is not an option — at least not if you cringe when see the widow’s humps on little old ladies and swear you won’t let yourself look like that as you age. So you stretch and you sweat and you check the clock on the gym wall, hoping you’re not spending too much of your day on this nonsense. But sometimes you get lucky and find a fitness outlet that you not only enjoy, but actually even look forward to. I discovered Spinning in the ’90s, about the same time that I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It was a great fitness alternative to the treadmill when the joints on my hands and feet swelled up and I could barely walk. I got on my stationary bike and followed the instructor up and down imaginary hills, making like Lance Armstrong (before we found out he was doping, of course). Spinning is more of a team sport than …