Subourbon Mom


Exercise Bikes – The Hatred is Real
October 25, 2017, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of the many reasons I’m not a runner is because it hurts every joint from your hips to your toes. When I hopped off the still moving treadmill and tried to stretch my hip by twisting my leg into a pretzel, the gym trainer made me get on the exercise bike instead.

I hate the bike. I hate it with a passion I usually reserve for pedophiles, animal abusers and people who don’t use their turn signals.

Partly, I hate it because I associate it with those ultra-considerate people who ride bikes on the country roads by my house, taking up an entire lane while going 10 mph, and holding up traffic for miles. I dislike those biking enthusiasts even more when they have the audacity to grump when I shoot past them because…that’s right, I LIVE ON THAT ROAD. Bikers, I’m glad you’re out for your afternoon of freedom and exercise, but I live 20 minutes from town – I’ve got shit to do and errands to run before I too can enjoy the great outdoors, and you’re making it take even longer.

But I digress.

Mostly I hate the exercise bike at the gym because I sweat like a politician telling the truth as I do the hill climb or whatever cardio Hell they’ve decided to throw at us. I start wheezing because it’s hard work pedaling up an imaginary hill to nowhere.  I suck wind like I’ve been dutch-ovened after a chili cook-off because, in order to make the RPMs like I’m supposed to, I have to lean over and use the arm rests on the front of the bike. No big deal you say?  You try flailing your legs in a tiny circle in record time while you’re bent in half. It’s like running on a gerbil wheel while trying to lick your stomach.

Did I mention that I hate the bike?

When I’m done, completely spent and in danger of becoming a “sprinkler,” (one whose sweat dances off their body and onto others) I go to the office, shower and examine the damage. I will never be able to go to the OBGYN while I’m having to ride this Inquisition torture device – there would be some questions asked about the bruises all over my inner thighs. Helloooo…ever heard of seat cushions, oh Makers of the Almighty Exercise Bike?

So, I went out and bought some actual exercise leggings for an added protective layer. It didn’t help. I still look like I’ve been riding a bony bucking bronco every morning.

hamster wheel guyAnd I will never understand those people who do spin classes and say how much they love it, how addicted they are.

I think it’s a cult.

They probably keep hundreds of gerbils spinning on wheels in their homes just to watch them go, because they’re so obsessed; and, I’ll bet some of them spin to power their eco- and gerbil-friendly homes as they try to challenge Lance Armstrong’s over-sized, steroid-tripping heart. Over-achievers, if you ask me. I would much rather walk and jog on a fake road, thank you very much.

I will always hate the exercise bike, but the bottom line (aside from the ones on my actual bottom) is that it does rest my hip joints, and I’m no longer in danger of flying off the back of the treadmill while I stretch during the hardest parts of the workout (I’m not stupid – I’m not going to waste the walking portion with stretching).

So don’t worry Lance, you and your gerbils are in no danger from me.



There Should Be National Trainer Day
October 10, 2017, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Misc. Humor, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are several health care jobs I know I could never do, mostly because they’re just gross or dealing with negativity – dentists (scared patients), ear-nose-throat docs (green noses make me dry-heave), and gynecologists (just…eeewww), to name a few.  But one of the most underrated jobs has got to be exercise/gym trainer.

Before you roll your eyes and say, oh please, they make their own hours and get to play in a gym for their job, let me point out a few things:

fat trainerGym trainers have to look good every day to sell their product. Slapping on some makeup or pricey cologne and throwing on a cute dress or fancy suit after a blurry night out aren’t going to do it.  Trainers have to be perky (almost annoyingly so) and looking fresh every time, like they just stepped out of a fitness magazine or off the beach after a refreshing jog along the waterline – they’re selling a body and motivation. No one wants a fat trainer lazily leaning against a stack of weights telling them how to not be fat and lazy.

sports bra 2Trainers have to exude motivation, even when they’ve been up half the night with a vomiting kid, or are regretting eating that entire Chipotle bowl.   An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and lots of clients feel like they have already produced a herculean effort just to get to the gym in the first place. For some, that includes just trying to get their sports bra on.  They’re not happy about getting out of bed at the crack of dawn or leaving the office after a crappy day of work and heading to a place that makes them alternately miserable and euphoric.  But trainers have to somehow make these people exercise until they sweat, hearts pounding and bodies straining with every lift, curl or push – and they must do it in a way that doesn’t make their clients hate them.  At Orange Theory,  the gym I go to, Hannah and John have mastered this – God bless ’em!

Trainers who teach the early morning classes are a special breed.  Not only do they have to look good and be cheerful around a bunch of sleepy, grumpy people who have desperately fueled up on coffee in a pitiful attempt to make it through the class, trainers endure hours of garlic sweat (don’t be that guy), morning breath and general B.O. (because why bother if you’re just going to shower before going to work?).

smell

So be kind to your trainer. Say thank you after class, even though yes, you are paying for it. Appreciate that they got out of bed even earlier than you so you could get to your 5am class, and they never said a word to you the day you came in smelling like PF Changs.



Spring Break – 5 College Guy Body Types

Lots of people have asked me if there was any eye candy on the spring break cruise we took, which apparently had most of the University of Georgia on it. I hesitate to say yes, because a) the “men” were the same age as my daughters and b) eye candy is only fun in this situation for someone my age as long as you have your headphones on.  As soon as you actually hear the eye candy speak, it’s all over – it’s like getting what you thought was a caramel chocolate out of the candy box, and it ends up having that nasty pink creamy stuff inside.

But while I waited at the back of the pool crowd (see photo above) for the waiter to bring my next boat drink, I did notice that there are essentially 5 main male college bods:

  1. The football player who will eventually be a real estate broker or work in his Dad’s car dealership. This guy has already peaked – in fact, he may have peaked in high school but is riding the wave until the bitter end. His bulky size is beginning to go or will go to fat as soon as he stops working out in the gym, although he may re-acquaint himself with his neck when that happens. He always enters the belly flop contest and does the beer yell while dancing like Uncle Kracker. He also has some of the worst sunburn because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and guys generally just aren’t that helpful to each other with sunscreen application.
  2. Dad-Bod. This guy has already achieved that settled look that usually comes after baby #1. You can already see what he’s going to look at when he’s 40. He’s wearing the pastel button-down shirt (probably unbuttoned) and a university hat. But he is someone who might be able to hold a conversation, and his sunscreen is evenly applied because he has a girlfriend (or potential girlfriend) who cares.
  3. The Gym Rat. This guy, no matter how tall or short, spends the same amount of time in the gym that Oprah Winfrey spends telling people how to live their lives better (BTW, I’m still annoyed that one of Oprah’s “favorite things” was a pair of slippers for $300, as if we’re supposed to be able to afford them – bitch, please). He has perfected the flex-and-scan, which involves – you guessed it – flexing his pecs and abs and scanning beneath his $200 sunglasses to see who noticed. This is usually followed by a smirk if he’s spotted a fan, or a frown if he hasn’t.
  4. The Head of the Back (a-la Michael Anthony Hall in 16 Candles). These leaders of the non-Ken Doll contingent tend to lurk around the outskirts of the big crowds, drinking as much as the rest (or more), but never quite make it to the inner circle. They may not spend as much time in the gym or in the girls’ dorms as the other guys, but they have an amazing assortment of professional sports-related clothing to choose from, such as baseball and basketball jerseys. Sunburn? See Bod #1.
  5. Baseball player bod. These guys aren’t necessarily baseball players – they just have that naturally athletic look to them, without all the gym work. They either are already in the military (hence the look), they’ll work 20-hour days on Wall Street, or they will climb some other corporate ladder quickly with their combination of looks and charm (and probably smarts as well) – unless they go the opposite direction and do something interesting/noble like joining the Peace Corp or becoming a Wilderness adventure leader in the Rockies. Their sunscreen is applied evenly by pretty much anyone they ask.

At the risk of being accused of body-shaming, these are generalizations only. I don’t know these people and haven’t spoken to them except to ask them to please aim their vomit down the stairs and not down my front (just kidding). And no, I’m not going to talk about the girls’ body types because…I’m not stupid.

And yes, I was jealous of them for a bit, but then I had a revelation:

College kids don’t have cash, and pool wait staff like cash.   A lot.

Grownups have cash.

So, we grownups grabbed some chairs first thing in the morning while the partiers were still sleeping, and camped out all day enjoying the partiers’ annoyed looks.  We tipped the wait staff each time they took our orders.  Soon we didn’t even have to ask – they just brought. No standing in line amongst the sweaty, rum-breathing hoards, vying for the bartenders’ attention among the belly button rings and thongs. Just drinks on a tray when we needed them.

It’s good to be a grown up.



Are You A Reacher or a Settler?

Daughter #1 recently informed our family that on the TV show How I Met Your Mother, they talked about how in every relationship there’s a Reacher and a Settler.
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Reachers are in a relationship with someone who is out of their league. Settlers are with someone they believe may be inferior to them, either intellectually or physically – think Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel, or for those of you under the age of 40, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde.

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Ok, ok, if you want to be intellectual about it, it could be anyone of normal intelligence who has married a genius of any kind.

 

So I started wondering:  If this is true, what relationships would work better and longer?

 

Reacher + Settler:  A lawyer once said, “You know 10’s don’t date 2’s, right?”  Well, in my opinion, if they do it’s most likely not going to work, for two reasons:

1.       There rarely are 10’s.  Some people may think they’re a 10, but chances are they’re not.  I’m not just talking about looks here – you can be  a 10 in the personality department, or a be a 2 (a total D-bag).  Either way, it probably won’t last.

2.       These relationships are doomed from the start, unless the Settler (the 10) is a narcissist and the Reacher (the 2) has absolutely no self-esteem whatsoever, and they stay that way.  In this type of relationship, Reachers will let their well-being be dictated by their desire to be needed by the Settler.

unknown-3Think of Bella, the character in the Twilight movies. She is the Reacher (a young girl who is completely attracted to the all-powerful vampire), and Edward, the vampire, is the Settler.  (Yes, I know what happened in the books at the end – more on that later).  If their relationship had stayed the same, she would eventually have become just a blood supply to him.

Settler + Settler:  This would appear on the surface to work, except that the relationship will become toxic. Eventually, both Settlers’ feelings of superiority allow them to convince themselves they are right, or at least that the other is wrong. In a relationship between two Settlers, each thinks the other must be a Reacher, and therefore must be inferior/wrong.  “Asshole”, “arrogant” and “egotistical” are a couple of favorite words for two Settlers to sling about when they fight.  Try to imagine what would happen if Kanye West or Taylor Swift got together, or even better, Hillary and The Donald.

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Toxic.

 

 

Reacher + Reacher:  This is the best combination.  Two Reachers will be convinced they don’t deserve the other person, and will treat each other well.  Back to Bella and Edward – by the end of the series, both become Reachers.  Once Bella is made into a vampire, their unique vampire abilities put them on equal footing. Plus, both are so screwed up emotionally (she’s horrifically repressed, and he’s got some bizarre emotional need to be with a girl one tenth his age) they will never consider themselves Settlers.  That said, most of the marriages I know that have lasted a long time have done so because both people are self-aware enough to know they are flawed, and that not many people in the world could put up with their shit the way their spouse has for the last decade or two.

But what if the dynamic changes?  What if one of the two Reachers turns into a Settler? It happens.  Think of the Couch Potato-turned-Gym Rat.  The Couch Potato, who is in a relationship with another Couch Potato, should be happy (according to my theory) – until the Couch Potato decides she no longer wants to be a Couch Potato (because she watched the Twilight series too many times), and begins working out in the gym.  Soon she’s rockin’ the six pack and has a whole new set of Gym Rat friends. She starts to look down on her Couch Potato, and becomes in her mind, a Settler.  So, we are back to the first scenario:  Reacher + Settler.

Does this mean people aren’t allowed to change and grow in their relationship?  Of course not.  It does, however, mean that both people have to communicate, and never stop growing and trying new things.  Children try new things every day and grow exponentially.  It’s one of the reasons they are so interesting to watch.  Adults have a harder time trying new things, out of fear of looking ridiculous of being uncomfortable.  But not trying anything new means not growing.

Trying something new doesn’t have to mean hiking the Appalachian Trail or learning to pole dance at age 50; it can be something as simple as taking an online class about underwater basket weaving, writing a blog, or starting a business from your home.  When one person in the relationship stops growing and trying new things, they automatically become a Reacher.  If both people stop trying new things, they become…Al Bundy.

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Sport Bra Removal – The Struggle is Real

sports bra 2

As I continue my journey back to moderate fitness so I can flail around in an inner tube all summer with my cup of bourbon, I have come to the realization that my old school sports bras are holding me back – not up.

Everyone moans and groans about the hardships of exercising – the exhaustion, frustration, injuries and limited food choices, but women don’t usually address one of the most difficult post-exercise struggles that many of us face:

Removing that sweaty sports bra.

Let me begin by explaining that I’ve had my four sports bras for at least 5 years, which is longer than I’ve stuck with most t.v. shows and celebrity crushes. And I’m told it’s probably not a good thing – they are designed to keep The Girls contained, and to prevent the pain of all the independent jumping about they like to do. I’m pretty sure at this point those old sports bras are not doing much more for me than keeping everyone from realizing it takes me at least 15 minutes to warm up when the gym thermostat is set to “arctic.”

Oh they’re comfortable enough, like my fave pair of sweat pants – soft and stretchy. But they also have that irritating habit of turning into a boa constrictor-like leviathan I can’t remove once I’m done punishing myself for eating that entire pan of Rice Krispie treats.

And if you’re changing in a gym locker room, it’s even worse – there are witnesses to the absurdity that happens after every workout.

After every session I try to let myself cool down as much as possible before turning myself into a pretzel in order to get that stretchy monkey off my back. It never works, but I do have a system:

Step 1: Try in vain to pull the sports bra over my head by grasping the sides, like you would a t-shirt.

Step 2: Succeed in twisting the bra into a tourniquet, where it becomes stuck, wrapped around my upper chest like my own hand-made mammogram.

Sports bra removal1

Step 3:  Proceed to thank God for my inhaler that allows me to breathe during this most difficult part of my workout.

Step 4: Bend over at the waist and scrabble at the back of the sports bra with two hands to try and pull the damn thing off.

Step 5:  Curse my stiff shoulders and vow to do more stretching.

Step 6: Get one arm out, accidentally getting a whiff of my armpit and the nasty, sweaty bra at the same time.

Step 7:  Gag.

Step 8: Pull bra over my head while exhaling and fling it across the room in victory.

Step 9: Swear (again) that I will splurge and actually buy a quality, zip-shut sports bra.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like for my friends who are more…buxom, and have to “double bag” The Girls every time they work out. Taking off two of these Lycra straightjackets would be enough to make me give up on the whole exercise thing together.

In case these struggles are preventing you from exercising, don’t worry – they make snap- and zip-front sports bras, an sexy ones, too.  Apparently this is not a new phenomenon – others had these struggles as well, and shopped for sports bras more recently than 2005. But until I can get to the store, I’ll push (or pull) on, trusting that I’m building triceps every time I get undressed after a workout.

Front close sports bra




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