Kimberly Rae Miller
Kimberly Rae Miller
New York fashion mag bloggers are SO over the whole fat acceptance movement. Take Marie Claire blogger, Maura Kelly, for example. In a recent post, Kelly pontificates on the new CBS show, "Mike & Molly," a sitcom wherein two heavy-set lead characters manage to find love. Adventures in dating and dieting ensue, and great laughs and "aww" moments are had by all. All, that is, except for Maura Kelly, who gets queazy at the mere thought of the whole thing:
I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.
She goes on to qualify her opinion by stating that
some of her best friends are lardasses she's "not some size-ist jerk."
Move over Supersize Me, here comes Fed Up With Lunch, a blog by an anonymous school teacher somewhere in the midwest who has set out to "eat like the kids every day in 2010." On Friday, she made it to Lunch 129, featuring styrofoam-encased wieners and fries, and has minor breakdown. "Today at lunch I just stared out my window and cried. I ended up having to make a quick call to my mother. How grown-up of me...." This just goes to show, school is a drama-filled place regardless of the age its inhabitants. Also plastic covered wieners would make me cry too.
Department of smoothie intel: Smoothie Girl Eats Too covers an important scientific mystery today, i.e. how to thicken a smoothie using guar gum and xanthan gum. Huh? Yep, check it:
...the gums are natural carbohydrates and they do have calories: 20 per 7 g of Guar and 30 per 9g of Xanthan. They impart no flavor to smoothies, but make the shakes thicker and creamier. They prevent ice crystals from forming and therefore make very thick and luscious smoothies and ice creams.
I had absolutely no idea, but apparently these gums are available at a health food store near you. And here's another tip: The new way to ingest your smoothie is via bowl. There's even an acronym for this phenomenon: SIAB (Smoothie in a Bowl). Consider yourself in the know.
I am a calorie-tracking god. Physical exertion and side dishes alike reveal themselves to me in a silent stream of numbers. Think Neo in the Matrix. What is the source of my power? The nice people at BodyMedia sent me a magical arm band device that tracks everything but my shoe size: my caloric output, steps taken, sleep efficiency, and activity level. Move over Fitbit.
I’ve been wearing this jobby for about a month, and I’m addicted. Yes, people ask me if there is something wrong with me. They see the monitor and assume I have an ailment. It has been suggested that I wear it on my ankle, but then I’m pretty sure people will assume I’m Lindsay Lohan.
Once a day I reluctantly take the armband off and plug it into my computer where the data it loads my data onto the BodyMedia website. (The site also allows you to log food intake, so you can balance your calorie budget.) Full disclosure, I have yet to reach the 2,685 caloric output goal the system sets for me, but I have been amazed by how many calories I burn by just existing. Who knew? In fact, the most striking feature of the whole techno getup is that it has made me MORE mellow about my exercise and food, and not turned me into a raving calorie-counting stress case. Based on the data, (accurate to 90%), I can eat a whole lot more and still be within a "losing zone." Love that. Other important things I have learned:
I tweet, I admit it, but you know what I don't tweet about? My underpants. I personally prefer to keep the public underpants updates to a minimum. You know who doesn't? Sara Rue, Jenny Craig Spokesperson du jour. Yes, I am now imagining Sara Rue's vagina, and it's not my fault, she totally brought it up.
Her new skinny self ran a half-marathon over the weekend, along with her personal trainer. After the race she tweeted about having forgotten her undies at home, and how running commando is the only way to go.
Contrary to what your mom tells you when you call to whine, you can still exercise when you're sick. The general rule of thumb is this: If it's above the neck, and you don't have a fever, rock out with your fitness loving self. If you have a fever, and well anything involving the rest of your body, chill out, take a nap, and watch 9,000 Law & Order episodes. Having said that, there are some general rules of sicksercise ettiquette, like skipping the gym. The gym is a confined space with bad circulation, and spreading disease is just so rude. Let's be civilized, shall we. So basically, sick time is exercise video time. If ever there was a day to get down with Denise Austin, it's when your nose is rocking a crimson hue.
Without further ado, I present a whole bunch of lovely, lowish impact workouts that will keep you from fusing with your couch this cold season:
No longer will I scour the profiles of the men of New York on OkCupid during those long lonely nights; I have found a remedy to my loserdom, and it comes in the form of an exercise DVD. Hmm, that sounds a little
creepy lame but I assure you I am a total badass now, thanks to Dance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop. I would even go so far as to say that this is the most fun I have ever had doing an exercise DVD in my history of doing exercise DVDs. I know, that's a big statement, that's what I'm trying to tell you—this one is awesome.
The scene: Friday afternoon spin class. The players: Spin Instructor; Whackadoo
Instructor: Is anyone new, injured, or pregnant?
Whackadoo (sitting front and center in gray cotton biker shorts and a sports bra): I'm new.
Instructor gets off bike and proceeds to adjust Whackadoo's bike for her and tell her about hand positioning. A few minutes pass and class begins warm-up.
Instructor: Increase resistance to moderate, this will feel like your bike as a kid before you had gears.
Whackadoo: What if I'm pregnant?
Instructor: Are you pregnant?
Whackadoo: I don't know.
A few years ago a friend and I ventured to Tim Haft's Punk Rope class. The class had been described to me via email as "recess for adults." So I figured this was going to be no big deal. My next memory, when blood started rushing back to my brain, was that I was practically hyperventilating and about to vomit. I don't remember recess being that hard. Great workout, super fun, but for the most part I like to stay away from things that make me want to keel over in a room full of strangers. So how did I find myself back in Punk Rope again last night?
Happy first day of Fall. Now that summer is over and done with it's time to go shopping. Well, for me to go shopping. Truth be told up until recently all of my exercise happened within the confines of the gym. I like it there, everything is organized and climate controlled...and I can wear the same black yoga capris and t-shirts to workout all year round. I've never had to amp up my fitness wardrobe for a change in climate before. But thanks to a newfound love of the outdoors I'm left with a dilemma...what the f@#k do I wear now? Lucky for me, and you, I did some research.
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My 2010 inaugural workout was Denise Austin's new Body Makeover Mix. Austin is exactly twice my age, still in Barbie doll condition, and has literally hundreds of workout videos to her name. In short, she would seem a solid year opener. First impression: When she finally hangs up her spandex, Denise Austin needs to consider a second career doing voice overs for steamy imported films, and/or paid phone services. Move over Lauren Bacall. What a voice.
Now then, Body Makeover Mix is compiled of three 45-minute workouts: Upper Body, Lower Body, and Abs. This isn't a hard workout, but it's well rounded, and perfect for those just starting, or anyone feeling a bit mellow, and/or lazy. Gory details after the jump, but here's one tip: My favorite Denise Austin exercise are her Renegade Rows. To do a Renegade Row, you assume your normal soul crushing, plank position, and then lift up one hand at time to the corresponding shoulder, holding onto a weight. Normally these are done with kettlebells, but Denise does them with her itty-bitty three pounders, which is actually quite pleasant. Both she and the Internets promise that Renegade Rows will give you a "rock hard" tummy....
A few months ago I had that dewy glow that only comes from coming from THE BEST AEROBICS CLASS EVER, which of course was Dance Your Ass Off at the 59th Street Crunch. I don't think I've ever liked anything as much as I liked that class, so I was pretty psyched to get my fingers on the new Dance Your Ass Off Workout DVD. Could it be that I was about to have that euphoric, sweat drenched feealing in the comfort of my own home?
No. Definitely not. This DVD sucked, don't buy it.
There are two subtitles that are interchangeable on just about any and every exercise video released. One is "for beginners" the other is "for weight loss." They don't really mean anything, but they sound good and aren't particularly intimidating.
By far the most consistently awesome exercise video series I've done is the Element series. Everything Element touches turns my butt to gold. Yoga for Weight Loss is no exception. I wish it weren't "for weight loss" and were instead "for a really positive yoga experience," but there's really not much I can do about it.
I have a girl-crush on Jessica Smith, my latest DVD teacher. She may actually be my favorite ever on camera exercise teacher. 10-Minute Solutions DVDs are usually a crap shoot. Some are great, some are awful. Jessica's Knockout Body is damn near perfect: 50 minutes of total body conditioning. Aerobics, strength training, and stretching. Oh, and it comes with its own weighted gloves. More on those later, though. This girl is great at queuing and she doesn't have that shrieking condescending "You're doing great!" attitude that so many spandex clad instructors spout at the camera. Oh, and her abs are drool-worthy.
I will bet you $5 that Tracy Effinger doesn't eat cupcakes — she's not that kind of girl. I'm guessing she's more raw steak, flax seed, and protein powder. This woman is jacked. And, I hate to say it, but I judged her DVD by its cover. Which means I avoided it for a long time. But I can now report that Squeeze-Lower Body Challenge is a top notch addition to your DVD collection, and I plan to play it over and over again until Tracy leaves me for someone who eats more protein.
The workout is hard and simple: 30 torturous minutes, and all the equipment you need is a pair of dumbbells, and a chair. And, well, your ass. Your ass does a lot of heavy lifting. At its core, this DVD is a combination of lunges and leg raises. Five sets, to be precise: Dead lifts, Plies, Lunges, More Lunges, and Leg Lifts. Stuff you know you should do, but usually don't. If you are one of those naturally crushes yourself in workouts without adult supervision, well then, don't waste your money. If you like a little visual stimulation, and someone to make you do things the hard way, this one's a keeper.
Toughness aside, my absolute favorite thing Tracy does: She takes a water break! The lack of hydrating time in exercise DVDs generally means I spend alot of time pausing and rewinding to the exact moment of my last squat thrust. Thanks for watching my back Tracy!
I'm a white girl. When you look at me you think "midwestern" or "country fair," and not, say, "B-Boy." Kristin Jacobs, the instructor of 10-Minute Solutions: Hip Hop Dance Mix, is objectively more corn-fed looking than me, which I find particularly amusing when she gets her crunk on in Victoria Secret Pink sweatpants. The girl's got rhythm, I'll give her that, and she's a solid choreographer. The routines are funky, and she's not superfluously happy, just happy enough.
Decided I was going to make my exercising life easy this week by hitting up a dance class. Specifically, Crunch's new Dance Your Ass Off (DYAO) which they designed cross-media style to compliment Oxygen Network’s new reality weight loss/dance show Dance Your Ass Off. It's a TV brand extension, for god's sake, how hard could it be? (Clearly, I hadn't paid close enough attention to certain workout posts around here.) Anyway, I figured I’d be on my way with a box step or two, a few grapevines, and no need for a shower. At the start, our instructor Carol asked if everyone had water. I looked around like “Uh, Carol, I don’t need no stinkin’ water.”
I’m an idiot. I needed water, and, after, a shower and a bed. This is not Jazzercise people. DYAO with Carol is non-stop moving for 60-minutes. I’d tell you how many calories I burned, but I was jumping around so much my heart rate monitor slipped out of place. I left drenched in sweat.
Ariane Hundt got the idea for the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp while riding the subway one day. She was staring at an ad for the NYC condom campaign which featured the Brooklyn Bridge. I guess when I think condoms, I think exercise too, just not the lunging, running, wanting to throw up your liver kind.
When I emailed to reserve a spot on the bridge, Ariane wrote back that she couldn’t wait to “kick my ass.” I won’t sue for false advertising. Consider my ass sufficiently kicked. I am a gym rat, and generally prefer my exercise to happen in a sterile, air-conditioned, TV-laden environment, so a class that consists of running over outdoor bridge (2.26 miles) while doing lunges, squats, stair drills, resistance bands, ab work, and push-ups -- with an audience of pedestrians -- was a little outside my comfort zone. But, other than hating it, I loved it....
Meet Kristin McGee, a tall blonde beauty of a Pilates instructor whom I really wanted to hate for all those reasons, but who turns out to be kind of stellar. Her exercise video is called Pilates for Beginners -- more or less like every other Pilates video on the market -- but it's one of the best I've ever taken. And I've taken hundreds. This is Pilates "mat," (no machines required), and McGee eases you into each position step-by-step, until miraculously you find yourself perfectly aligned, mid-routine. My one gripe about McGee is that she's a bit light on the breathing cues. Breathing is key to Pilates, as in yoga, but save for one section, McGee glosses over the breathing instructions. Still, if you’re new to Pilates, and want to experment in the safety of your home, (fantasizing privately about the lean ballerina you will someday be), McGee is a wonderful teacher with whom to start.
Dear Shiva Rea, When I tell people that I’m totally obsessed with exercise DVDs, your name usually comes up, with high praise. Well, I just tried your Flow Yoga for Beginners, and I can see what all the fuss is about: Boy, are you pretty, and bendy! I can also tell, by how you switched back and forth between Sanskirt and English, and moved us non-stop for 70 minutes, that you must know a lot about yoga. I'll confess, though, you did lose me a few times there. In my book, "novice" does sort of imply "sans sanskrit," honey.
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