Zerchers, 150x6, with a gratuitous Ham Shirt flash for my fellow Amazons. And to the douche who walked through my shot? Are you totally oblivious to a bench where a bench never usually is, with a camera balanced on it? Dude, please.
Every time I think I've heard of every kind of workout, every kind of fitness activity, something else pops up to put me in my place and prove that I don't in fact know everything. Just, y'know, most things. Most important things. A few things. Whatever.
And so it was with interest that I read a discussion of what the participants did for conditioning/cardio in which barbell complexes were mentioned. What the what? I said to myself. Off to google I went.
Do YOU know what those are? If not, a few words from now you will, boys and girls! Barbell complexes are a set of exercises done with...wait for it...wait for it...yes! a barbell, in which the exercises are done consecutively, without stopping, and without putting the bar down. Obviously, because you aren't stopping to change plates out, the amount of weight you can use is limited to that with which you can complete the weakest exercise. Also, the exercises you choose should follow in some kind of logical progression. So, for example, you might start with deadlifts to get the bar up off the ground, then do cleans to get the bar up to your shoulders, then front squats while the bar is up there, then overhead press to get the bar above you, and then finally, bringing the bar down onto your back, you might do back squats. Et voila, five different exercises without ever having to put the bar down. This is reputed to get your heart rate up there and increase your endurance. I see no reason to doubt that!
Here are some examples:
Pretty basic. Classic, if you would.
Huh. They obviously don't hold to the "don't put the barbell down." Shoulda thrown those pushups in after the curls.
Zercher lunges? I don't even... I wanna cry just thinking about it.
Of COURSE the freaking Crossfit people gotta do things differently.
And then there are some people who just refuse to be serious.
In the immortal words of my late father, "Well, yeah, of course. He's a Polack." (Even if you have the right genetic material like me, please try that at home only at your own risk. disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer)
So, yes, kids, I wanna try doing a barbell complex. I think it's going to involve learning how to do cleans, though. Um, BRB, youtubing tutorials on those!
All y'all know who Jessica Simpson is, right? First she was some sort of country/pop singer, who became much more renowned for her first-marriage reality show, in which she was portrayed to be somewhat, um, dim.
Then she got really fit to play a part in a forgettable movie based on a 70s TV show and became a sex symbol.
Then she gained a little weight and took a lot of crap for it, especially after she performed in a pair of really unflattering jeans.
I must admit, though I had no previous like or dislike for Ms Simpson, I felt for her after that incident. As a fellow short and somewhat boobilicious person, I knew well that gaining just a wee few pounds can be the difference between looking great and looking unfortunately tubby for people like us, especially in photos or the wrong outfit or both.
Ms Simpson shrugged it off and went on to put her name on a line of shoes, many of which are very very cute, but which (alas) I shall never buy, since I refuse to buy celebrity-endorsed shit even if it's good. But look at the cute shoes, y'all.
And then she remarried and got knocked up (in one order or another). And then she started taking a lot more crap for, y'know, daring to gain weight whilst pregnant. And for admitting she wanted, and was eating, non-health food, like, say, buttered pop tarts.
Oh, the media firestorm that erupted over how excessively she gained weight and how unhealthy and OMG! dangerous for the baby her presumed horrible eating habits were, all commented on by a bunch of "experts" who were not, y'know, Ms Simpson's actual medical providers. On a recent Today show segment, Sarah Palin was the voice of reason re this. I don't mean to go political on you, boys and girls, but when Sarah Palin is the one person being reasonable in the room, things have definitely jumped the ol' shark.
But that's not what I want to talk about. No. What bemused me the most about this whole hooha is that in the many many comments on the various stories about this incident that I've read on the interwebs, there seemed to be two very distinct camps. There were the people who said, "Buttered fucking pop tarts, are you kidding me? Gross. That's something only an out-of-control pregnant woman would eat or want to eat." And there were the people who said, "Dude! That's how we always ate them when we were kids. Mmmmmm, now I want one." I myself took a much more neutral and Switzerland-like stance on the matter. Can't say I've ever before heard of buttering pop tarts, but on the other hand? Is there anything that isn't improved by the addition of butter? (Of course, my real stance on pop tarts is that in the cage fight death match of grocery store HFCS- and transfat-full breakfast pastries toaster strudels kick pop tarts' ass. Especially the ones with jam *and* cream cheese in them.)
But even more bemusing to me was this. In a resulting internet discussion of buttering pop tarts, a young woman mentioned that her mother buttered all their vegetables "including peas and carrots" and until she was in her late teens, she thought everyone else did too. My reaction? Wait, wut? Everyone doesn't?
I mean, not if the veggies in question have already been stir-fried. Or roasted in olive oil. Or are in a salad covered with balsamic vinegrette. Or are raw on a plate next to a cup of blue cheese dressing for dipping. Obviously. But eating steamed or boiled vegetables sans butter is something I last did in the late 80s when I was on one of those punitive lowfat 80s type diets that made me really stabby. Vegetables are not just a great source of micronutrients, people. They're a vehicle for meeting your fat macro. Damn. If Mother Nature had intended for me to eat green stuff plain, she'd have made me a cow. Or made cheese sauce less delicious. One of the two.
And you wonder why me n' Jessica need to worry about unflattering "fat" pictures. Yeah, yeah. But seriously...
Butter. It's good.
P.S. I'm tagging this post as food pr0n, but unfortunately I did NOT take a photo of last night's dinner veggies glistening in their .3 ounces of Kate's. Yes, I weigh it. No, you don't need to call the eating disorders clinic. Yet. I swear, I'm not around the bend.
If you've heard me talk about working out at all, you probably know two things pertinent to this blog entry. Firstly, I hate direct ab work and I pretty much refuse to do it. You will see me doing crunches round about the time Satan needs a down jacket, okay? Secondly, despite my refusal to do direct ab work, all that squatting and deadlifting I've been doing over the past year has strengthened my core A LOT and built up both my abs and my lower back muscles. The downside to that however, is that it's widened my waist a bit, and that makes me sad. My waist measurement was 25 inches last year. Now it's 26, and it's not more fat, I swear. (In before "stop complaining about your 26 inch waist, bitch." Ahem.)
So, imagine my fascination when I heard about an abdominal exercise that is touted to actually effectively decrease your waist size while NOT involving any of those nasty crunches or leg lifts. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the stomach vacuum!
Here's an attractive young woman explaining why crunches are actually *bad* for you (hint: tight hip flexors!) and demonstrating (sorta) how to do stomach vacuums.
And here's an attractive young man (don't ever say I don't give you equal opportunity eye candy!) explaining in great detail just how crunches fuck up your body and athletic performance and, oh, why Ken Griffey Jr's ass was so big and why he kept injuring his hammies and, yeah, why you should try stomach vacuums. He does go on and on, but it's pretty interesting and worth a listen. Plus, did I mention his pretty face? Yeah.
Here's a better tutorial on how to stomach vacuum.
And I do not know WHAT the hell this woman thinks she's doing, but man, is it ever mesmerizing. Damn. I just watched that like three times in a row.
Anyway, kids, I intend to adopt the stomach vacuum and see what happens. Anyone else in on this?
For those of you who are unaware, Lauren Conrad is a former reality TV star/current "designer" and "novelist."*** She is also a very pretty young woman, which may or may not be her main talent in life. Who knows? In any case, Ms Conrad, in an article in Glamour magazine this month, related that she recently wore a bathing suit in public for the first time in years while on a beach vacation. Why "for the first time in years"? Well, see, she was traumatized by tabloid photos of herself in a bathing suit with her cellulite circled.
Last summer, while sitting on my beach chair on Crane's Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts,
at a time where the beach was a lil more crowded than in that picture--by which I mean to say, wall to wall sand chairs, towels, umbrellas, coolers, and people in their swimsuits--
--more like that, but worse--I took my own informal visual poll.
My companion was reading and we were both occasionally availing ourselves of the many, many snacks we always bring to the beach. I was mostly chillaxing, as you do, facing out towards the water and idly watching the hundreds of people walking back and forth past my line of vision. And as I did, it suddenly penetrated my brain, for the first time in 45+ years of beach-going, that all the women over voting age had at least a bit of cellulite when viewed in their bathing suits. Old women, middle-aged women, young women. White women, black women, Hispanic women, Asian women. Moms, grandmothers, and the child-free. Skinny women, fat women, even athletic women. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. (Oh, sorry. Got caught in a Dr Suessian loop there.) One of the linked articles posits that 90% of women have cellulite. Well, I dunno if we citizens of Massachusetts and the tourists who come visit us are a particularly lumpy bunch or what, but I'd up that to close to 100%.
And I said to myself, "Andrea. Why the fuck have you spent so much of your life embarrassed by, hating, and trying to get rid of the cellulite on your thighs when, damn it, everyone else has it too?" The answer, of course, is that because of airbrushing (in my youth) and photoshopping (now) I've been forcefed an endless parade of flawless thighs and asses in magazines and advertisements, without realizing that that flawlessness very very rarely exists in nature. Plus, I've had an entire beauty industry focused on selling me shit to solve my "problem." Do I think my cellulite is pretty? No.
I mean, I don't need to draw a big red circle around that mess for y'all, do I? It's not pretty, but it is very normal, and despite the fact that I just referred to it as a mess, it's not anything that should make anyone lose their proverbial or actual lunch. Even when I was fatter and less muscular and it was more prominent, it wasn't any kind of hideous bodily deformity that should terrify small children. It's just cellulite and cellulite is part of being a grown woman for almost all of us. Stop acting like it's OMG THE WORST THING EVAH, tabloids and advertisers. Stop feeding into the cultural phenomenon where all women in the Western world are taught to hate their bodies. Just stop. 'Cause you're pissing us off when we gain just a few seconds of clarity.
Lastly, an online acquaintance recently said something along the lines of not being "able" to wear a bathing a suit this summer, not being satisfied with the state of her legs, and "maybe next year." It made me really sad. Everyone is able to wear a bathing suit. There's no test one has to pass to prove one's worthiness to take off one's shorts.
That's J Lo, who I do believe was named the sexiest woman in the world last year by some magazine or other. Should we tell her to stay out of a bikini?!!???!
***Excuse the sarcastic quotation marks, but we all know how often celebrities write their own books or come up with the ideas for the clothing lines that bear their names, right?