Archives for category: strong

this is reason 849 that i don’t like working out in gyms.  the machines are so weird.  today’s wins the cake for me.

i went in and since i try to do something a little differently every time i’m in there, i went to the one machine i’ve never tried.  it’s a bike thingy, officially called the recumbent exercise bike.  imagine gluing your lazy boy to pedals instead of a foot stool.  i programmed it for an eight minute random hill cycle.

people, i felt like a duck on a lake.

you’ve seen the little ducks just gliding along the water but you know, you KNOW, that underneath the water their little webbed feet are paddling as furiously to stay in place as donald trump’s comb over.

if someone would have taken a video of me from my waist up, you’d think i was chillin’ out, watching jersey shore (goddess forbid!).  in keeping with the spirit of the day, i almost felt rather queenly on a throne…but hips down…..madness, kids, madness.

all that was missing from the arm rests (ARM RESTS!!!!!) was a cup holder and some nachos and guac.  all that was missing for my legs was an after event sports massage.

talk about lack of body unity.  i didn’t know whether to take a little nap or break out the tiger balm.

after that incongruity, i moved on to the rest of my gym play.  i felt very machine-y so that’s what i stuck with today.  i moved on to the seated leg press, then the hamstring curl machine, then the standing leg curl machine, then the leg adductor machine.

i, robot.

speaking of robots, there’s this woman at the gym who is there before me and still going strong after i’m gone.  she’s either on the deadmill or stairstepper….for hours.  she does NOT look like she’s having a good time.  her faced is tied into a knot.  her eyes do not move from the screen that updates how many calories she’s burning.  s. a. d.  this is the opposite of being a wild one.

monday, i want to start getting into what it is to be wild.  tuesday, i’ll be getting into my specific goals….stick around.


yesterday we talked about the accepted measures of fitness from one point of view. i’m so excited to introduce you to the point of view of someone that i just can’t get enough of lately. i’m reading his book: muscles et beaute plastique that he wrote for women (in 1919) and i love that so many of the issues are still the same. in one passage he says that men who don’t appreciate women who get strong and put on muscle basically are misogynistic little dicked asswipes. (i paraphrased.)

his motto is: be strong to be useful. his approach to fitness is very skill based. he also encourages all of his “workouts” to be done outside wearing as little as you can get away with. my kind of guy.

his name is georges hebert and since he encourages outdoor workouts with very little clothing, i’m sure you’ve guessed he’s french. i also am working through his book: guide pratique d’education physique. i realize that all of his frenchiness may make him little inaccessible to english readers. luckily, i bring you: THIS GUY. swoon, right?

he also is french and doesn’t wear a whole lot when he works out outside. i’m also going to get to train with him in june. erwan le corre is friggin’ awesome for taking hebert’s work, expanding on it and bringing it into this century and making it available to the less francophone of us.

this system of fitness is far more skill based. each workout (i HATE that term….this stuff is way too much fun to be work! how about playout?) should include these 10 skills. don’t worry, when you’re playing outside, you tend to cover all 10 pretty naturally.

they are:

2.throw things
3.climb something
4.picking something up
6.balancing somewhere
7.walking on all fours
8.jumping from or onto something
10.self defense practice

if you’ve ever watched kids play or remember what you were like out on the playground (before you discovered barbie dolls and ken dolls and found out how you could make them play with each other….i digress), you’ll know that all 10 of these come very naturally. hence, hebert’s brain baby? his system is called “methode naturelle” or natural method for those who found the french nearly impossible to decipher.

i LOVE it. it is accessible to everyone (except for the swimming which you may need to go out of your way to do) and completely scalable. it is something that you can do with your kids on your lawn. urbanites have run with it since its inception and we have this. yep, that’s right, hebert’s work spawned that phenomenon.  although it tends to be a very male dominated sport (all the fun one’s start that way, don’t they?),  girls do it, too.  i look a lot like this when i do it. (i’ll tell y’all a personal story about this soon.)

tomorrow, i’ll be hitting on one more way to define your fitness.

here’s to getting outside, nearly nekkid and playin’ around like kids!

okay, so this is called the wild woman PROJECT.  what’s that all about, right?

i’ve decided to be my own guinea pig.  the glorious bruce lee said: “knowing is not enough, we must apply.  willing is not enough, we must do.” (by the way, i used to have a t-shirt with bruce lee’s face emblazoned across the front in crushed velvet.  it was two sizes too small so it was my “boobs lee” t-shirt.  i lost it.  i loved that thing.  my birthday is april 16th so if anyone would love to make my day……..)

where was i?  thoughts of bruce lee always distract me and make me think of my own boobs.

yeah: knowledge isn’t enough….i know some shit about health and fitness.  i know that living in a way that can closely simulate the ways we lived since we first became a species is the way to go.  but, i haven’t applied it.

i guess i wasn’t willing.  yes, being a wild woman sets you apart from the pack.  we are hardwired not to want to be too far apart from the pack.  a lion can easily pick you off that way.  so, i’m hoping to do two things: get fit enough to outrun the fuckin’ lion and create a pack that wants to run along with me.  you can dig as deeply as you want for the lion metaphor: aches, pains, too much fat, too little muscle, feeling old, feeling bored, whatever your lion is.

so, here’s the project: i am going to apply the things that i know.  i learned most of this stuff from here and here, as well as a shit ton of other places (resource list coming soon!) but also, when i really pay attention, my body is a pretty kickass teacher…

play along with me on this project.  please don’t have a boring goal like “i want to lose 20 pounds.” or “i want to fit into the jeans i graduated from high school in”.  here’s why: people lose 20 pounds in a lot of different ways: chemotherapy, anorexia, POW camp….do you see where i’m going with this?  and if high school is as far away from now for you as it is for me, those jeans are FUGLY.

instead, how about: “i want to be able to squat my body weight” or “i want to know what every corner of my town looks like from the seat of my bike” or “i want to know i can defend myself if i have to” or “i want to win a race against my kids” or “i want to hike the appalachian trail” or “i want to learn to kiteboard” or “i want to go three rounds with a trained boxer”.  whatever.

i have several specific goals that i will share with you soon, but, the general goal is to apply what i know about being a wild woman.  boys, play along and be wild, too.

sadly, the first image that comes to mind when the phrase “wild woman” is read is the boobs (oh, bruce why did you have to go so young!) flashing drunk girl on spring break.  again…BORING.  instead, i think of the Dahomean warrior women, from who i descend.  i think of diana the huntress.  i think of the amazon.  but, you know, with more of a sense of humor.

so, let’s get wild, strong, and let’s have a grand ol’ time playing at it.


The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, “If we’re going to charge $10 an hour, we can’t call it jumping up and down.”  ~Rita Rudner

The truth is found in comedy.

I loathe aerobics.  I hate them.  I want them to die a 1 2 3….grapevine! death.

you should hate them too.  girls, really.  they don’t do a thing for you but make you hyper and a little too chipper and just make girls like me want to punch you.  and, trust me, since i pump some iron, you don’t want that.

it’s not your fault.  it’s all you’ve every heard.  cut out the fat from your diet and do a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, sustaining between 60-75% of your target heart rate….every day.  um…first of all, yawn.  secondly, do you really have to be a mathematician to get in shape?

of course, aerobics takes place in a box with canned lighting overhead and crap music….with the same steps.  over and over.  for a minimum of thirty minutes.  every day.

have you ever noticed that men lose weight really quickly and get ripped really easily?  how many men are in your aerobics classes?  that’s what i thought.  where are they?  the weight room.  yep.  the weight room.

of course, the weight room is still in the box with the canned lighting, but: 1. they generally have better music and 2. it’s not BORING.  boring is the mortal fitness sin.

i ultimately want you to go outside and play.  there’s plenty of heavy stuff to pick up, carry, and throw out there.  remember when you were a little kid, back before you first heard the phrase “girls don’t do that” that crushed all your fun?  remember that feeling that the world was all yours to do with what you wanted?  when you used to race boys and climb trees and throw rocks into the water to see who could get the biggest splash?  THAT’S what i want you to feel when you “work out”….not the monotony of 1 2 3 grapevine…..

this is just to get you to start thinking.  there’s plenty of science that we can eventually get into and we will, but i double dog dare you to spend a month NOT cutting the fat out of your diet and working with weights instead of doing aerobics.  that way, in thirty days, when i’m a whole month stronger, you won’t have to sustain a punch from me in your aerobically deconditioned gut.

if i have to overhear another woman complain about the size of her thighs, i will throw something.  jenny SMASH!  nobody cares.  nobody’s looking.  and all you’re doing is chipping away at your power.

why don’t we women ever brag about the strength of our thighs?  how about the powerhouse that our asses are?  or the force of our guts?

“she’s a strong woman.”  you know who gets called strong women?  women who are strong in CHARACTER.  those of us who have sustained abuse and come out through the other side.  i admire us, yes, i do.

but what about the women who can deadlift twice their bodyweight?  or those who can run for 100 miles?  or those who can wrestle without minding their face in someone’s dirty pit?  where are the blackbelts?  where are the weightlifters?  the triathletes?  or just,even better, those who go outside and make a hill their bitch with an all out sprint?  where are the women who ENJOY being physically active, who don’t view it as working out but all out play and an expression of what it means to be human?

welcome to my blog.  i dedicate it to the women strong enough to shatter cultural stereotypes and roles about what women are supposed to be.  i’ll share the things that i know about being wild, about being strong.  fine, i will probably lose weight as i get stronger and wilder.  but, if that’s your life goal, go somewhere else because you bore me.  this is the story of how i’m becoming my own shera by exploring what it is to be wild…by embodying the wild woman as i define her.

trust me, i’ve got a ways to go.  right now, i’m a plump 37 year old single mom who was in a bad car accident a year and a half ago, have been more comfortable being an overstressed bag of emotional upheaval than a zen warrior, but as i sniff the aroma of 40 around the bend, it’s time to change all that.  it’s time for me to get strong.  get wild.

and, boys, just cuz i’m a girl doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two, so follow along, too.  after all, i read and learn from shit written for you, y’know.

this is probably gonna be messy, dirty, and stinky…but it’s gonna be fun.  if it isn’t fun for me, i hope it’s fun for you as you witness my shenanigans.

let’s do this shit.