Working out at the gym

25 04 2014

A student came to the Writing Centre looking for help with a research proposal for an essay. He wanted to write something about going to the gym and about protein shakes, but wasn’t sure what his thesis might be and what he wanted to explore. We talked about the topic of working out a bit, and I asked if he went to the gym. He replied that he had convinced himself it was for health reasons and staying fit but in fact was more about getting muscles.

I thought that a very interesting observation, one that I would say is almost ubiquitous these days and yet, people don’t really want to admit it. Why? Maybe because they don’t want to come across as shallow or superficial, which is understandable. When I got the gym today after jogging for a while down at Pacific Spirit Park, I couldn’t help but feel like when I sat down at the weight machine, that I was no longer doing it for my health. My run was my health thing; trying to build up some semblance of pecs is not necessary to maintain good health. It’s all aesthetics.

And as I looked around the room at all of the young men and women in tank tops, short shorts, gym shorts, and sweaty t-shirts, grunting and groaning while they willed themselves in the mirror to lift the heavy barbell one more time, or to jog another minute on the treadmill, or to hold that pose just another moment for the sake of tighter abs, I was suddenly so disgusted with myself (and yeah, with everyone too). But then I saw the links that tie everything together — the conditioning of everyone via society and overabundance of media images of ripped bodies as hot and desirable; shaming of bigger bodies; lack of address of issues such as masculinity and hypermasculinity. I saw how it all tied together, how it was a loop, and it made me sad.

And then I wondered when the last time any of these kids actually read a book for fun that wasn’t a textbook required for their course. Which I always end up thinking whenever I go to the gym and end up feeling superior to everyone, even when I scold myself for doing so.

I very much enjoyed jogging in the park. It’s a positive environment to be in. The gym? Not so much.

Everyone should eat more fibre

9 04 2014

I’m only saying this because my digestion’s been weird for the past few weeks. I think I need more fibre in my diet, but it’s hard to tell. I do think I’m definitely not getting as much as I used to, so I will now be stuffing myself with multigrain cereal and flax seeds. With broccoli.


Toxin, Toxout

15 02 2014

From the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck, Bruce Lourie and RickĀ  Smith are back with their new, eye-opening book, Toxin, Toxout. Toxins are back, and they’re EVERYWHERE. God, this book was so illuminating and yet so freaking scary at the same time — the amount of harmful substances in our everyday products are causing so many changes in not only the environment, but also to our bodies. I like to think I lead a somewhat healthy lifestyle in terms of staying away from plastics, recycling everything that I can, producing as little waste as possible, but this book made me really aware of the possible amount of chemicals that are in my body from things I never thought of before, like dust in the air and chemicals inside cars. I’m also more aware that I haven’t been exercising as regularly as I should have been (I blame it on school! It’s all university’s fault!), which has also kept toxins in my body.

I could go on and on about all these horrible things, but everyone should really give this a read because this we are all affected by toxic chemicals far more than we realize. And if you care about your health, you probably need to change how you live. Or you’ll dieeeeeeeeee!

Seriously though. Read this book.

PS. Look at the cool underwear Rick sent me! Thanks, Rick!