Sunday, July 28, 2013

Two Dudes and Country Music

There is nothing better than a great solo workout. I really can't think of something I enjoy more alone than zoning out and breaking a sweat. It's not that I hate working out with others, but I generally find that my patience for humanity is much lower if you decide to text after every circuit, or pause to dramatically talk about how much you are sweating.  I guess what I mean is that your workout buddy holds a very special position in my personal life. This person sees you at your least glamorous, most smelly, and absorbs the often times obscene site of your 'just did 100 burpees face.' Clearly a great workout buddy is no ordinary pal.  This is why when I was in the situation to workout with two dudes I wasn't sure how this would play out. I knew all of the risk factors of hitting the gym with your girlfriend.  The texting, the talking, the unwelcome sweating, endless butt routines, and the ever common 'lets just go get food instead' suggestion.  Hitting it with some dudes was a different story. Would I even be able to keep up? I could already hear the ridicule of whipping out some 5lb weights. How would we all get a good workout from the same moves? Oh gosh not to mention the 'gasping for air' face.

Below is the best example I could find of this face...

After many workouts both alone and with amazing friends, I figured trying it out with the guys would at least be a guaranteed sweat session.  Whether they were workout buddy material was still left to establish.

We all met up a tiny garage gym.  I could hear the country music humming as I walked up, oh joy sob songs of women and tractors to get us motivated.  Maybe a little judgmental I know, but hey when you normally get moving to Pandora's power workout play list Garth Brooks is downright inappropriate. I walk in to grunting, pull-ups, and a box fan to circulate the air sweat...yikes, no more yoga mats and Lululemon for me.

So here is why I decided doing it with dudes is actually a great idea:

1. My kind of man talk: so maybe I didn't have much to contribute here.  I knew the man talk was coming.  There was primarily talk of protein and working out, how huge your lats will look, the right form...yada...yada. Which makes a heck of a lot more sense than what goes on during a girl geared sweat session. No who has the cutest sports bra on, where has the best Pilates, how your butt got so perky, did the boyfriend really say that, why my yoga pants are better than yours...etc.  While I am equally as guilty of LOVING to discuss these riveting topics (really I do...everyone wants a perky butt), the conversation was focused to the task at hand which made the workout feel more rewarding.  I felt the focus of a solo session. Working out with your best friend demands a different mindset and is almost more challenging.  You have to mentally be able to run and jump around while telling the dramatic story of what happened Saturday night, which in my opinion can be equally as hard as trying to juggle while standing on your head.  Less talk=more effort elsewhere. 

2. Sweat...everywhere: The group setting made for an extremely competitive motivation. I sure as hell wasn't trying to be the slowest in the room which resulted in an extremely manly amount of sweating.  Imagine droplets flying all over the room, the floor slippery with body stains (it sounds more gruesome than it actually was). There was no shame about the infamous swamp ass, or taking your drenched shirt to your dripping wet face, it was more a badge of dirty as that sounds.  As someone who appreciates a good sweat it was a highly successful experience.  

3. No mirror gazing: Apparently in garage gyms there are no fancy mirrors to adore how ripped your abs look after crunches on the Swiss ball.  Putting the vanity aside was also a welcomed change.  After many instances of seeing the meat head man flex after a round of bicep curls at the gym I was fully prepared for the gun show.  Luckily these dudes kept moving too much to stop and stare.

4. Okay fine...let's do push ups: Knew this was coming. I really did have to resist my feminine urge to turn every move into some type of squat. It's like all of these Jillian Michaels flicks have conditioned women to this booty focused mentality. I really liked the challenge of even considering focusing on my arms. These little toothpicks are easily the most forgotten zone due to my having zero upper body strength.  I would hang upside down from a pull up bar and do crunches before I attempt any sort of actual pull up. While we didn't do an intense upper body routine, I woke up the next morning feeling like my back had cemented over night.  Who knew after avoiding upper body strength for so long those muscles even still existed...I'll take it!!

 5. No bootys or bikinis here: Brazilian booty, bikini body (insert frilly workout series here)...instead of the girl power look good embellishments, our moves were basic and without fabulous adjectives to make them sound less miserable. Basic squat with weight and lunges did not need to be translated, what you see is what you get with dudes in the garage gym.  The simplicity of the moves not only allowed for everyone to know what was going on, but isolated the specific regions that were being worked. It took out the forced Zumba fun that makes me cringe at the thought of shimmying for fitness. 

The two dudes themselves
Possibly the highlight of doing circuits with these workout dudes was when they compromised to let me change the music selection. Literally Jamey Johnson  "Lead Me Home" was playing...wait what did you say? Sorry I passed out mid squat. We experimented with Beyonce radio which needless to say is a classic. Whether they admit it or not I knew it was a hit. 

Contrary to my anticipation these dudes were excellent workout buddies.  Really I just enjoyed the chance to change it up a little bit.  The sweating, push-ups, and bikini-less focused bodies proved to be an awesome workout. Next time I plan to suggest more workout jam classics...maybe Rhianna Radio? I know baby steps...


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life with the Air on

After living in my new apartment for two and a half months I am still trying to get my act together and be a grown-up. These 90 degree weeks forced us to cave and turn the air on which proved to be a huge' suck it up and accept the fate on the next bill statement' moment for all of us...a coming of age  to some degree.  Weeks of waking up in my own dripping sweat in a state of constant dehydration weren't enough to spur hitting the on switch. No, what drove me to break down and alleviate the sweat box we had created was due my mom was visiting.  I couldn't have her thinking this was some new crash diet or a new minimalist lifestyle choice (which would have been her first assumptions) that would just make me look bad...

Once I turned the air on it was like all of the unacceptable half-assing things we were doing to avoid fully living in our place grew mouths and declared how pitiful this situation was, like sentencing yourself to a state of constant heat stroke.  Whatever the on button turned on was much more than the cooling system.  The other issue I ended up breaking down on was the fact that none of our walls have anything actually hanging on them, in places where there could be something, things are awkwardly propped up in order to display the fact that even we thought it sounded fun to make this house a home.
cool tapestry that was hung no problem

So after finding a hammer and a total of four nails I was ready for my Martha Stewart moment. There are these white shelves that have sat in the corner since day one. The shelves are adorable, the kind of shelves that you look at and think 'damn I've got such sohpisticated taste'. I even tried to be really official and measure the nail points, but an inch of miscalculation (which should have been anticipated after a turbulent stint in geometry 4 years ago) forced me to have to remove my first and extremely anti-climactic nail in the wall. I searched high and low, finding nothing that was designed to help DIY idiots remove bum nails from ancient walls. I had to settle on jimmying the mess with crayola scissors. Great...even my make shift pliers were half assed.

Issue number 3000 in this undertaking occurred once I realize the walls, which apparently were built with the same materials that guard the Swiss Bank vaults, didn't allow the nail to go deep enough to support the shelf. This left my precious shelves hanging disturbingly lopsided teetering on crashing to the ground, it looked absurd.  After looking at the hack work I did to my pretty clean walls I felt beyond dumb.

finished product! somewhat lopsided I'm sure but no cardboard visible
The fan of the cool air hummed in the rafters okay... deep breath, fix this shit! I could not let my first attempt at home decorating be a complete and utter fail. Rummaging around for answers led me to some old cardboard that happened to be white, the answer to my problems.  I carefully folded the cardboard and wedged it in, filling the gap that allowed the shelf to droop. How's that for half assed??!

Needless to say it was a below average first attempt at domesticating my apartment of 2 months (2 months too late). Two simple white shelves turned out looking like a Goldberg machine.  Who knew four nails, scissors, and trash cardboard could accomplish such a project.  The shelves will probably come crashing down next time the wind blows through the window too hard, but until then I am loving living life with the air on.  Luckily this embarrassing attempt is only the beginning of my home improvement spree.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Dirty Laundry

A huge obstacle I have encountered since being in college is how to wash my clothes without using some Dawn in the kitchen sink. After bumming one to many free loads at friends and family houses, I decided to check out the local laundromat. Of course I had to go late night, was tucked securely between an Ameristop and the Check n Go.  This place was crowded for 12am on a Sunday night. I realized that there were only three people in the whole place, but got confused when nearly all of the washers and dryers were filled. 

Turns out one of the laundry doers was occupying the entire row.  This amazed me even further as I realized that someone had to commit to not doing laundry for a very very long period of time in order to amass enough material to fill 10 units of washers and dryers.  I found my dryer in the deep corner of the building, it was one of the low tech dryers that didn’t have a touch screen and instead used what looked like displaced dial phone buttons as setting preferences.  To my right was a girl eating peanut butter out of a jar with her finger wearing a sweatshirt that said I make pretty babies.  She looked over at me sniffed up what sounded like a mouth full of butter, and too a gulp of her apple
A trip to remember
juice to wash it down.  As I stifled my gag reflex the dryer that was in use above mine buzzed stop.  Another girl wearing all black sauntered over bumping my laundry basket out of her way without a care.  The back of her sweatshirt said vampire and her pants were tinted with the print of a human skull. These jeans looked like they may have been a DIY art project, since I cant imagine a more original pants pattern being sold at just any old store.   

As I sat there taking in the scene around me I realized I wasn’t much better off.  I was wearing a zip up hoodie that was two sizes too big.  I had deliberately chosen not to shower after my workout thinking that if this look was suitable anywhere this was the place.  My hair was disheveled as I made the rookie mistake of touching the inside of the dryer which apparently was set warm enough to bake some brownies.  After figuring out which quarter insert to use I found out to my surprise that this place is cheaper than the sketchy basement machines at my apartment building...I guess the trade off was there weren't any vampires in my building's basement. As I grabbed the rest of my stuff vampire turned to me and commented that she liked my sweatshirt.  I reflexively responded that I liked her pants and she strolled away past peanut butter girl who was still digging away in the jar of jiffy. This certainly was a more exciting way to get some chores done. 


Snack time

skeptically checking out the options

Coaching a bunch of boys ages 10-18 on the same tennis team is like some social experiment that depicts the male hierarchy from start to finish. When the older boys do one thing the younger half try to do the same thing only “twice as cool.” There is always a big man at practice which is subject to change depending on whether he can bum a ride from his mom up to the courts that day. One day two from the middle of the pack members tried to get the attention of the older crew by spinning around in circles while swinging their rackets at each other. This resulted in one puking from the heat and confusion while the other got hit in the face and complained of a head ache.  Even though things like this happen on a constant basis the one thing that is common between the ranks of this unique team is that they all, like most teenage boys, love to eat! I have tried so many times to reward with food and with good conscious cannot come to terms with giving them unhealthy cookies and processed sugar that sends them home in a coma.  One day I was naive enough to serve ants on a log. I guess that tactic loses effectiveness when the kid learns how to spell their name and realizes that celery tastes like a hand full of grass. The boys took the logs and launched them into the fence with their rackets in protest, okay dumb idea.  Last time I redeemed myself by getting store bought cookies paired with some Laffy Taffy. The jokes and fake sugars were a hit until I read that the cookies had 170 calories (more than they probably burned the entire practice spent eating them). I was further horrified when one player ate 6 of them…there had to be another way.
Stamp of approval

The boys have been winning their matches and doing really well at practices. I am so proud of them and am constantly amazed at how quickly they improve on a weekly basis. I spent an afternoon with one of my close friends and she decided to make these really healthy snacks. No bake protein balls. Thank you Pinterest for yet again solving all life problems.

These balls solved two problems.

1. My inability to bake: I will surely botch anything the requires precision and awareness of oven time

2. They have nutritional value with the disguise of a sweet treat. WIN!

The balls took about as much skill as it takes to flush a toilet. I was even a little embarrassed to try and call them a real ‘baked good’ but I’ll take a kitchen success however I can get it. After bragging about how wonderfully healthy and delicious these things were about to be, I unveiled them to the team. They skeptically grabbed them and devoured. My visions of the baked goods being used as make shift tennis balls were quickly alleviated as all of them begged for another OH YEAH!
I may try out a few more similar recipes on these balls to see how healthy they can get, but would absolutely recommend something quick and easy like this for anyone in the situation of impressing a herd of boys ranging from “when do you get your braces on?” to “dude, did you ask that girl to prom yet?”