Coffee, coffee, coffee!!!

May 8, 2007

It’s 5:30AM, and I am sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, home brewed. If it weren’t for this cup of coffee, I would still be in bed. Sure, no matter how many times I hit snooze on the alarm clock (and subsequently pissed the neighbors off), I need the kick of some serious caffeine to get me going, like a lot of people. Still, there seems to be an almost stigma associated with drinking coffee (or other caffeinated drinks), and it’s effects on exercise.

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The Spot Training Myth

May 1, 2007

About a month ago, I posted about how my friend Priscilla wanted to lose weight before she went away to Thailand.   Let me apologize to her first, for using the name Priscilla as her pseudonym, and explain that she is NOT prissy by any means.  However, in spite of her probably wanting to kill me after I mention her again in a posting, I really do have to mention her warped sense of health and fitness, which is certainly probably shared by at least a few other people.

Let me share an excerpt from an IM conversation we had a few weeks ago. (OMG, she is going to KILL ME; good thing she’s still in Thailand).

Priscilla55: so my friend at work told me

Priscilla55: i should do sit ups with a bar

Priscilla55: then ill have abs of steel

FitFiend: so why did your friend tell you that?

Priscilla55: i asked him if i lost weight

Priscilla55: and how i can lose weight in my abdomen

FitFiend: and what did he say?

Priscilla55: he said to use a bar

Priscilla55: and do sit ups

Priscilla55: and the oblique table

FitFiend: holding a bar above your head while you do sit ups will make you lose weight in your abdomen?

Priscilla55: sets and do them fast

Priscilla55: i think that is what i understood

FitFiend: uhm, it doesn’t sound like you did understand

FitFiend: how are his abs?

Priscilla55: solid

Priscilla55: he doesn’t eat any junk

Priscilla55: like tuna

Priscilla55: eggs

Priscilla55: wheat bread if that

FitFiend: that how you have to be

Priscilla55: he’s one of those neckless guys

Priscilla55: he wants to be big

Priscilla55: no i want a neck

Priscilla55: and i don’t want to be big

Priscilla55: i don’t care for muscle

Priscilla55: i just don’t want to jiggle

FitFiend: part of toning down is getting some muscle

FitFiend: you should do sculpt classes

Priscilla55: my friend said

Priscilla55: i have to give up chips too

Priscilla55: not just ice cream

FitFiend: you didn’t say chips before!

Priscilla55: i cant give up soo many things ok

FitFiend: you have to give up your crap snacks

Priscilla55: all at once

FitFiend: you can do it for like 2 weeks.

 

Now, in Priscilla’s defense, she is by no means very jiggly, and probably weighs in at the low end of what might be considered optimal for a chick at 5’4, but, she feels the need to reconstitute her body. 

Unfortunately, this is something that can only be done by exercise and healthy eating habits, not one or the other.  What Priscilla was describing, by talking about getting a solid stomach by doing ab exercises, and well, nothing else, is spot training.  I would think that most people realize that spot training does not work, but a small number of “newbies” probably think that it will lead to results; it won’t.

In a vacuum, all the crunches in the world will not melt away the fat around your tummy.  If anything, doing a lot of ab training will serve to build the muscle of your abs, and which might even make your stomach look bigger if you aren’t doing anything to lower your body fat (like cardio and a caloric deficit).

Now, I say that Priscilla has a warped outlook on health and fitness because she believes in spot training and also, doesn’t really believe she needs to eat properly.  She actually went into greater detail about what exactly she eats everyday, which is simply pretty bad; snacking (on crap) all day.  This is certainly not something that will help her get that tone body she wants. 

Her takeaway from the conversation with her friend was that she could eat all the crap she wanted, do those ab exercises, and get a tone stomach.  Only if she wanted to get big and muscle-y does she need to eat properly.  Still, she has only recently made the commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle, and I’m sure will be able to incorporate a healthier, more sensible outlook on her own fitness.  As I’ve said before, start small because trying to make an overnight transformation will probably lead to a quicker failure. 


Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 4 – Recap – “Are we talking furniture, or are we talking sex?”

April 11, 2007

Last week, we left off with the Work Out crew at Sushi Dan. Rebecca and Jackie had just “come out” to the group, and the sh*t was hitting the fan.

We pick back up with Jackie and Rebecca making out. Jesse is commenting on how grossed out he is by the whole thing. Jesse decides to take off, as he was super upset that he didn’t know anything about this.

Erika comes to Jesse’s defense, and says that he is sensitive, while Rebecca tells the camera that he needs to suck it up, in not so many words.

Brian explains why Jesse was upset. Jackie points out that Jesse has always had a problem with Rebecca. I never picked up on that before.

Peeler comments that they aren’t judging, and they are just having a hard time absorbing it all. He compares it to coming home and finding the furniture rearranged. Jackie’s response? “Furniture, I thought we were talking about sex.” Is it just me, or does Peeler get unfair crap most of the time? He usually is on point.

Tiffany walks in to the restaurant, and plants one on Jackie. Oh snap, catfight on tap. Tiffany scoots in next to Jackie. Rebecca asks Tiffany to move so she isn’t so squished. At this point, Jackie starts ignoring Rebecca and only plays with Tiffany. Rebecca is clearly super jealous at this point, especially when Jackie tells her to stop eating off of her plate. Ouch!

Erika says its time to go because she feels that Rebecca must be uncomfortable. Nice of her, considering that she is supposed to be “the bitch.” They all get ready to go except for Jackie and Rebecca. Andre makes some comments that offend Jackie, who says it’s because he is jealous, since Rebecca and Tiffany are supposedly heterosexual, but she can get in their pants and he can’t. When they leave, Andre says to Zen, “are you gonna be next?” That is what I said last week when Zen was in her nightie.

Jackie and Tiffany are talking first about Andre and then Rebecca. We find out that Jackie and Tiffany had had a hot, torrid affair for 5 months (this was while Jackie was with Mimi). In Episode 2 they had mentioned dating, but never said it was for that long.

Jackie says that Tiffany has gotten much better at sex, (Let’s guess what’s for dessert). and that she has changed; she is more masculine, and Jackie digs that. She also claims that she is normally such a sexual aggressor and now Tiffany is stepping it up a bit more.

Yes, they go back to Jackie’s drink champagne, make out on the couch, and then Jackie suggests they go to her bed. Damn Jackie got serious game!

Commercial

Jackie is in therapy, talking about how she feels in control and over Mimi. Dr. Sheryl prompts her to talk about her current dating life. Jackie says she is dating two people right now. Dr. Sheryl points out that both people Jackie is dating should know. Jackie owns up about dating one of her trainers, and seems to not need to talk about it that much, and acts like everything she is doing is completely on the up and up.

Meanwhile, the guys are talking about Jackie and Rebecca and the sushi night. Gregg points out that probably the worst thing was how Tiffany came to meet them while Jackie and Rebecca had just started defending their “love” for each other to the gang.

Jesse and Jackie start talking in her office. Jesse says that she can’t make out in public bathrooms anymore. Jackie counters that all the guys had too many problems, especially Andre. Jesse says that lesbians can’t casually date.

We jump to Peeler and Andre talking about the situation and how it isn’t ethical for the boss to date one of the employees.

Jackie tells the camera that trainers date trainers, trainers date clients, so why can’t she date who she wants. Methinks Jackie doth protest too much.

Jackie walks in on Peeler and Andre, and starts discussing the issue with them. Andre owns up to being jealous, and they have a lighthearted conversation. Doug points out this is just “gym drama,” ending the issue, for now. Jackie says that in her pool, her fish are hotter and she will always get them more easily than Andre will. That is because Jackie is a man-eating, no, woman-eating shark, and she will prey upon all the impressionable, curious, heterosexual chicks out there. successful, attractive woman.

Peeler is working out with his client, Floyd, at Sky Lab. We then find out that Doug’s birthday is the next day, and once you hit 40, you really feel it (he’s turning 44).

Cheo, Doug’s ex-partner is back at the gym to work out with Doug. He had kidney failure and needs to get in shape before his transplant. Some sappy stuff between Doug and Cheo. Where did it go wrong, etc. Sorry, not much detail here.

Creepily and ominously, Cheo tells the camera that Doug Blasdell’s parents didn’t live past 43, and that is Doug’s age now.

Commercial

Rebecca walks in to Jackie’s office and asks about Tiffany; she says that Jackie omits details. Jackie claims that she feels bad that she might have inadvertently hurt Rebecca’s feelings. Rebecca claims that she doesn’t really feel jealous, but Jackie sees through it. They make plans to hang out on Thursday night. (Will Jackie flake on Rebecca?)

Jesse comes up to Rebecca and says that some of his clients are lesbians (he has the Sky Lab lesbian couple as clients), and that she shouldn’t casually date one of them. Rebecca finds this inappropriate, I find it hysterical. Jesse then goes to train his clients (they really are lesbians) and refers to himself as the “lesbian whisperer.”

We go to Doug’s 44th party, a joint party with Erika (don’t know how old she is). Rebecca comes dressed up, but without any underwear. Jackie calls it “understated sexiness,” and that she taught Rebecca everything she knows. Erika shows up late, to her own party, which was low key, not like their last outings. Very slow, makes me want to drink, heavily, for them.

Commercial

Andre is working out with his client Kiki. She’s doing well, but just has a problem with Jackie’s meal plan. She ate two Eggo waffles instead of Jackie’s morning protein shake. (Which is a delicious concotion of whey protein, liquid amino acids, Mega Green powder, Flax seed oil, mixed berries, and milk).

Doug is with his friend Cheo a the hospital. We get to see some medical procedure that I won’t go into detail about. Arteries, blood, needles, oh my!

Doug is sitting through the procedure, and starts looking woozy, dizzy. Cheo says he is dehydrated.

We cut back to Sky Sport and Spa, and Erika walks in to train a client, and tells Rebecca that the crack is back (Crack is Whack!!) Erika’s client is Megan, who wants to fit in a dress by the Oscars. Erika is training her and tells her that consistency is key, and that she is doing a workout (peripheral heart action) that quickly shifts the focus between the upper and lower body. Would be interesting to learn more about this type of workout. I think it keeps your heart rate consistent while working out different parts of the body.

Jackie hasn’t seen Doug since his birthday party. The trainers are standing around and realize that nobody has seen him.

Commercial

Doug hasn’t trained anyone at Sky Sport for a week, and none of the trainers have seen him since the party. Jackie gets a call from Cheo. She feels numb, wants to walk away, but she can’t because she has to stay strong for her trainers.

The trainers gather, and Jackie informs them that right around his birthday, Doug got a really bad flu. He was so dehydrated that his kidney shut down. The doctors put him into a drug induced coma, and he developed a really bad infection. However, he is out of the coma and recovering. At this point, Jackie is saying that she thinks he will be out of the hospital in a week or two.

Next week. Another team building session, with Rebecca throwing a glass of water at Jesse. I guess there really is tension between them. Drama!

www.fitfiend.com


Not so humongous fungus (for now)

April 5, 2007

Disclaimer – About two weeks ago, someone contacted me to review a product. They sent me the product, along with a fancy new gym bag and a pair of flip flops.

I already have a system with my gym bag(s), in terms of what goes in which bag when, and where I put my bags so I never forget to move things between when necessary, like, my lock or Ipod. (Things can get kind of confusing, since I use different gym locations, and have a rental locker at my main one) So, I would be willing to part with the gym bag they sent me; it’s pretty nice. If you want it, let me know; I’ll even post a picture of it if you like.

As far as the flip flops, I’m keeping them. Not because I am going to use them in the locker room and wear them when I shower, that might make sense. In fact, a few of my friends asked me why I don’t use them, and well, they’re just nasty. Imagine carrying around a pair of wet flip flops that have been all over a disgusting locker room floor, gross. They tell me it will prevent Ahtlete’s Foot, but I don’t buy it. I’m just going to hang on to them, in any case.

So, a week ago I wrote about my battle with Athlete’s Foot. Some people were sympathetic, some people were curious, and a lot were disgusted. Anyway, the product I received is this new Advanced Lamisil Gel AT.

Lamisil

I have been using it for the past week, and I am impressed. I only use it once a day, before I go to bed. Other things I have used usually merited using multiple times a day.

More importantly, the results have been great. I have no more fungus. Since it is basically still winter (It is snow showering right now in NYC on April 5th), my fungus hasn’t been so bad, but it still hadn’t gone away. After all, showering in a locker room is and walking around barefoot is pretty gross. And note, I haven’t been peeing on my feet.

We’ll see how well the Lamisil works over the warmer months when I am swimming and sweating a lot more. But, for the time being, nobody needs to ask me to put my socks on when we go to bed.

www.fitfiend.com


Humongous Fungus

March 30, 2007

“Humongous Fungus.” This is what one of my friends started calling me when I told him about this little problem I have. 

I have struggled with some degree of Athlete’s Foot for the last few years.  Sometimes, it can get pretty bad, and other times, I have cracked flaky skin on my feet that I don’t even notice.  I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.  It can get uncomfortable and look downright nasty, though. 

Athlete’s Foot goes with the territory of someone who sweats a lot and has to shower in locker rooms.  It is just one of those annoyances, like work out gear that you just can’t seem to get the rank out of, no matter how many times you wash.   Heck, it’s even less worse than the Ringworm I got that one time when, after swimming, I decided to use one of the stretching mats that was next to the pool 

This past winter, my Athlete’s Foot entered into this almost remission type phase.  Aside from working out, I guess my socks stayed pretty dry.  I didn’t hit the pool at all, so my barefootedness in wet environments was pretty much limited to running back to my gym locker, on my tippy toes, because, you know, I wouldn’t want to catch anything.  I do have a spot or two of notable cracked skin, but it doesn’t really itch. 

Once the weather gets warmer, it will be a completely different story.  Aside from the obvious, which is that my feet will be wet, festering bacteria magnet much more of the time, I wear these gnarly Birkenstocks that are a bacteria magnet themselves.  I envision full on red, cracked feet, that is, unless I take some action.

My main deterrent for Athlete’s Foot is pee.  Growing up, I had swimmer friends who would tell me about how they peed on their feet in the shower to help prevent/soothe their Athlete’s Foot.  I don’t make a regular habit of peeing in the shower (maybe I should), but whenever I start feeling my feet itch, you better believe that I pee all over them. 

Sometimes, this plan backfires, because I wait to go to the bathroom until I go shower.  Last week, after a spin class, I had to go really, really bad.  I ran to the showers, and the only stall available was the middle stall of a row of 5, one I normally stay away from because that is where the main drain is.  Unfortunately for me, the drain, in this little trough, was clogged, and was starting to overflow into my stall.  Now, to be clear, when I pee on my feet, I do it over the trough, so it’s not like it goes everywhere. 

This day, because of the clog, there was no way I was going to go; it would have overflowed all over the place.  What’s worse, as I was trying to hurry and finish showering before the entire backwash completely flooded my stall, I realized that if anyone in any of the other stalls also took a pee, which I guarantee at least one of them did, it was going to be all over my feet.  I still had to go, and I was showering standing in other people’s pee!  I guess someone else’s pee would have the same effect on my foot fungus, but still, that just crosses a line. 

In any case, aside from pee, I use sprays and creams, but only when I really feel the burn.  Someone recently sent me a new product, which I will test out and review in about a week. 


Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 1 – Recap – “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re full of sh*t!”

March 21, 2007

The new season of Work Out is upon us, and opens with a surprising message: Dedicated in loving memory to Doug Blasdell.

Apparently, Doug, the oldest trainer on the show, passed away earlier this year due to a severe illness, after the filming of this season.

Jackie Warner starts talking about how her life has changed since Cycle 1. Mimi is still in her life, and they are trying to work things out. Sky Sports was a roaring success, and now she is about to open a new branch, Sky Lab.

We then get some snippets of the trainers talking about themselves and each other. Here are some of the highlights!

Gregg – The New Guy. Dated Zen.

Rebecca (was she really this hot on the Amazing Race?) – Loves to spank other chicks, has a great ass.

Erika – Walks the walk, Talks the talk. That bitchy friend you love to have.

Brian Peeler – Can create a masterpiece out of anything, like Michelangelo, only he probably doesn’t know who Michelangelo is, according to Jesse.

Jesse – The Favorite, Jackie’s bitch, and he likes to eat, and cook, and eat, and eat.

Andre -The Military Guy

Doug – The gay brother Peeler never had.

Zen – She mentions that her parents were not flower children

After we get the refresher on who these trainers are, we cut back to Jackie, who is starting a new branch, Sky Labs. Jackie doesn’t like how the trainers let the success of last season get to their heads, so to put them back in their place, she organizes a Beach Boot camp. She orders them to take their shirts off, but Jesse doesn’t want to because he is “gay fat.” (I wonder if that is different from normal fat because he sure just looked fat to me).

The trainers start whining, Jesse points out that Jackie doesn’t ever do the boot camps herself (is he still the favorite?), and Rebecca, jokingly, calls her a whore (we ain’t seen nothing yet).

Erika comes up with some crazy exercise. Peeler complains that it is too complicated.

All of the trainers, except for Zen and Erika, give up and go get water. Jackie taunts them after Zen and Erika finish the complicated exercise, saying those two girls could do it, and nobody else could. Jackie does point out that they would never let their clients just give up and walk away.

Cut to clips from last season of bickering between Jackie and Mimi, culminating with Mimi hurling glass at a bar at Jackie, Rebecca, and Mrs. Peeler.

I bet you thought it was all over then! Guess what, it’s not, as Mimi and Jackie are trying to work things out. Jackie admits that Mimi is her “personal addiction.”

After the commercial break, we get an insight into what is happening in the gym between the trainers and clients. (Sort of)

Gregg is working out client Daniel, who is trying to get bigger and eating 4,000 calories a day. He says he is eating a lot of chicken and eggs, and Gregg tells him that eggs are his best friend. Daniel started off at 141 pounds, as Gregg puts it, “your average frat boy.” Frat boys are scrawny?

We get the scoop on Zen and Gregg; she says he is too young for her at 23.

Ellie K., a radio talk show host, is training with Jesse. They seem to love each other and friends outside of the gym, partaking in fast food binges.

Jackie is giving Jesse a hard time for getting fat, because he should be a representative of Sky Sports and Sky Lab (I wondered if it really mattered in “Fat Trainer”). Ellie K. is with them and keeps telling Jackie about all the crap she sees Jesse eat.

Doug’s former partner of 14 years comes in to work out with him. He is trying to get back into shape before his kidney transplant. Eerie that his friend is very sick then Doug gets sick after the season airs.

Commercial.

Erika walks in to train client Beverly, who drives down from Vegas every weekend (an 8 hour drive) to train. (No doubt Erika is hot, but she couldn’t find anyone closer?) She can relate to Beverly because they both have had eating disorders. Beverly is happy she found someone who she can relate to, which prompts Erika to say, “they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

Doug and Jesse are talking, separately, about how they each had been interviewed after Cycle 1, and had said things about each other. Doug called him Jack from Will and Grace. Jesse said some mean things about Doug to the papers. (I smell a catfight!)

Jesse is Jackie’s best friend in the gym. They start talking about how Doug and Jesse don’t get along, then the conversation turns to Mimi and their lack of communication. They go to a hairdresser, where Jesse gets his nostrils waxed. (OMFG are you crazy?!)

High Drama Alert (HDA) The crew goes to some Gay/Lesbian function. Jackie gets a hotel room for them to chill at and knock back a few cocktails. Peeler, the mischievous little rascal, stirs the pot and asks if there is still a Jesse-Doug beef.

Doug explains to the camera he meant what he said as a compliment, that Jack was his favorite character on his favorite show, Will and Grace. (Hehe) Cut back to the room, and Jesse is a little trashed and keeps going off on Doug.

Commercial. More arguing. Jesse can’t forgive just yet. Rebecca points out that it is Jesse’s limitations that he can’t accept apologies. (Thank god that is over)

(HDA) Jackie and Mimi go to couple’s counseling. They start cracking up when therapist asks why they are at therapy. First she asks about fighting, then sex. It kind of seems like Mimi is a little tipsy. The two have it out, start yelling at each other, blaming each other. Every time Jackie tries to say something, Mimi says “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re full of shit.” The therapist says they have awful communication (shocker) and doesn’t know why they are together. Mimi walks out.

From the looks of the previews for the upcoming shows, it looks like Mimi won’t be back. Jackie starts hooking up with Rebecca?! and it looks like we are set for a whole heaping more of HDA alongside our HLA.

Takeaways for the FitFiends

Eggs are your best friend.

Trainers need to set an example for their clients.

Finding the right trainer for you is extremely important to achieve goals. Not all trainers necessarily can relate to you or work you out the way you need.

www.fitfiend.com 

 


My Healthy Eating Hypocrisy

March 16, 2007

I try to eat healthy foods. I eat whole grains, lots of greens, lean meats, and I stay away from ALL processed foods or sugar as much as feasible. My portions are small, but they are spread though out the day. As a supplement, I drink a few protein shakes to cut some hunger pangs. While I had known about the right things and ways to eat for a while, I only really started applying them last year, when I worked out with a trainer for a few sessions. As important as the actual workouts were, so was his constant berating of me when I would tell him how I had eaten. Even when I see him now, before saying hello, he asks me what I have eaten.

When I first started really dedicating myself to eating healthy, I would go to the grocery store (even when I was hungry, which is a big no-no, and also my main takeaway from “Work Out”) and have absolutely ZERO clue as to what I could buy. It was a little bit frustrating, but after a while, I became conditioned to ignoring all the bad stuff (most of the stuff that is there) and going for the whole grains, etc.

Another thing I have learned is to NEVER buy snacks to keep in my apartment, because I know that I will eat them all. If I were to buy a box of Cheez-its, I would finish it in a matter of minutes. One of my all time favorite snacks is nachos, and when you make them yourself, you can put as much cheese, salsa, and other things on it that make it taste so good, but it is really so bad.

I’m pretty good and set a good example, right? Wrong. When I visited my family during the winter holidays, I was awful. What’s worse is that they generally are the ones who struggle to eat properly and cut the bad things out. For example, pasta for dinner, which is often very late, is a staple. The horror! Although, they have been phasing that out.

I should be helping them, but instead of setting a good example when I visited, I was the one leading the charge to get a cake, to celebrate something or other. When they were going shopping, and they asked if I wanted Cheez-its, I said yes, get two boxes.

Just as bad, even when I was not enabling, I was at least participating. Like, when they already had a bag of chips, I ate them, all. Things I would never have normally even considered became fair game.

To be fair, it was the holidays, so I permitted myself some slack. Had I been at my apartment, then that would never have happened, though. One of the things people do is make those little concessions, and unfortunately, lots of little concessions add up to a whole lot of extra crap, which is what happened with me.

Anyway, from now on, I vow to make sure I set a good example even when I do go visit people, or at least, not really set an example so much as stick to my guns. It does make it more difficult when you are a guest, because you don’t want to seem high maintenance. But, still, making too many exceptions can be a perilous road in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.