Workout Tips No One Ever Told You

I started working out seriously in September of this year. Even though it’s only been two months, I’ve made some amazing progress. And yes, I’m allowed to brag because I worked my ass off.

Now, I’m not claiming to know everything there is to know about staying in shape. But I did speak with a few trainers these past few months, and I’ve started noticing not only changes in my body, but in my environment also.

Take today for example. I was at the gym, as usual, when I noticed a girl in first year struggling with some of the workouts. I spotted her issues right away: her posture was off and as a result, she was improperly lifting and thought she could lift more than she really could. Sure enough, though this girl seemed in good shape, I noticed she slouched the entire time she was at the gym, probably from improper posture her whole life that had only been encouraged by her workout habits.

It’s sad too because I’m not the kind of person who gives people advice at the gym (seriously, who wants to be “that person”?!). But at the same time, I wanted to help this girl and other workout newbies (myself included) who may not know some of the fundamentals. Ladies, this is especially important for y’all to know.

  1. Posture is EVERYTHING.

I’ve already touched on this with my earlier example, but I’ll elaborate. When you’re lifting ANYTHING EVER, you need to have good form, especially when it comes to your posture. I myself have always slouched up until recently. It’s because my posture has been working out alongside me these past months, and I stand straighter and am more flexible as a result.

Let me put it this way: most people know not to lift with your back, but do you know why? BECAUSE YOU’LL SNAP LIKE A FREAKING TOOTHPICK, THAT’S WHY! Seriously, learn the proper form for whatever workout you’re doing BEFORE you attempt it. This is especially important to everyone who deadlifts without keeping their fucking head straight (99% of all the guys at Loyalist College, I’m looking at you). You’re going to break your neck.

Just ask someone, such as a friend or gym employee, to spot you before trying anything new. That way, they’ll be able to help you with your technique and save you from horrendous potential injury.

Remember: it’s better to do your sets correctly than it is to do a whole lot of them.

(But seriously, if you deadlift like that, I think you’re an idiot.)

2. Stop. Doing. Nothing. But. Cardio.

Ladies, I’m looking at you fools. It’s been backed by several studies now that doing nothing but cardio won’t slim you down to a size zero or whatever. It will help you lose weight for a bit, but it will be a terrible, slow process and will make you hate yourself. Trust me.

Instead of focussing on being slim, focus on losing fat. It might sound like the same thing, but most people don’t understand the difference. Fat doesn’t just *poof* off of your body; you convert it into muscle (unless you have a plethora of fat that you need to get rid of, then it kinda *poofs*, or at least seems to). You’re not going to convert anything into muscle unless you challenge your body.

Challenging your body means you need to build strength, not necessarily endurance – unless you’re a track star or something. Please please PLEASE girls, try lifting weights and using the machines. I swear to God you will see results in one month of solid working out as opposed to the several months it would take for you to see results if you just stick with cardio.

3. On a related note – IF YOU JUST DO CORE, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET SKINNY!!!!!

OH MY GOD stop only exercising your core. Why the hell would you do that? Do you realize how disproportionate you’re going to look in six weeks????

Let me rephrase (and calm down). Think of it like this: when you work out any part of your body, you’re going to gain muscle in that area. While having a six pack of abs would be great, if you only workout your core, you’re going to bulk up in your midsection. It’s just a fact, sorry.

Most of the girls (I say girls, but really it’s everyone) who believe this myth get it from size zero fitness bloggers who have amazing stomachs who tell them, “Core is everything! Anyone can look like this!”

I’m sorry to burst your first world bubble, but no, not everyone can. Genetics built that woman naturally small, she just trimmed down her waist by EATING HEALTHY and doing HITT exercises (which is fine, but again, I recommend lifting if you’re trying to lose weight. I find it gives you the fastest results).

4. For the love of Christ, if I see one more person try to stretch before they workout, I’m going to punch them in the face.

DON’T DO IT! It will kill you!

Not really, but it’s bad for you.It destabilizes your muscles and can be counterproductive. Always stretch after you workout, when your muscles are warm. Before working out, warm your muscles the fuck up with cardio.

Yes, I said cardio. It’s not all bad, I swear. But more than twenty minutes a day and you’re just going to make yourself tired for no reason.

Please watch this amazing video that will explain far better than I can why you’re an absolute fucking walnut if you stretch before a workout.

Myths About Stretching.

5. If you’re a girl, you won’t bulk up from lifting weights. Now get off your high horse princess and start those benchpresses.

I’m not going to lie, I thought I’d bulk up too. I thought I’d start looking like a female bodybuilder by Christmas, but nope, still me.

Fact: men have 20-30% more testosterone than women do (thank gosh, because I’d hate to have a beard, amirite?) which allows them to bulk up easier than women. Like, way easier. The only way you’re going to bulk up is you you start taking steroids, which I don’t recommend.

Lifting weights helps to lengthen and lean muscle out. Lifting weights is also good for your bones and helps with overall good health.Also, the more muscle you have, the more fat you’re burning. See how that works?

6. Don’t use weights on the cardio machines unless you want to die at the ripe old age of 28.

This one boggles my mind. I can see how you’d think there’d be a bit more of a caloric burn, but the risks outweigh the benefits.

You won’t be focussed on your body, you’re destabilized all over (meaning “flailing like a chicken with its head cut off”) and you’re going to have joint discomfort. If you really want to burn more calories, increase the resistance or incline of the machine. Don’t pick up a pair of weights and try running.

7. Don’t overexercise. 

I’m guilty of this one. I workout at thy gym five days a week. Plus I do an hour of yoga each Wednesday, PLUS an hour of pole fitness each Saturday, so Sunday really is the day of rest for me (Biblical puns are funny).

But I try to limit my workouts to just one hour whenever I can (as opposed to my usual two+ hours each day) and I make sure to take rests whenever I need to.

The dangers of overexercising are as follows: dehydration, muscle fatigue and failure, injury, unbalanced electrolytes, thrown off hunger cues and binge eating.

Also, don’t go too hard, too fast. It’s not going to happen overnight, so please don’t try to make it happen overnight. It’s a long process, but it can be fun when you listen to my rules. Oops, did I just say that?

8. This one can be described with a hilarious photo.

no-leg-day-2

Not just leg day, but any day. You need need need need need need variety in your workouts, or your entire body is going to be unbalanced and frankly, laughable.

You’re going to burnout your muscles if you do the same routine all the time. This means you’ll be tired faster, and you’ll probably end up quitting as a result. I know you hate leg day guys, I used to too. But don’t skip it. Don’t be the leg day meme guy.

So there you have it, folks. Follow these tips to stay healthy and happy at the gym, and have a fun time working out!

Quarter-Life Crisis

We’ve all heard of our parents or friends of our parents going through the phenomenon called a “mid-life crisis”. It usually involves a person in their forties or fifties buying a toupee or a sports car or getting a tattoo on their boob. This is because they’ve reached a point in their life where they start doubting the decisions they made that usually are made to help support the ideologies of capitalism (i.e. getting married, buying a house, having 2.5 children and a dog named Buddy, etc).

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But I’d like to propose that there is another phenomenon that occurs earlier in life, by the time you reach your early twenties. I call this the quarter-life crisis and it involves a person suddenly realizing that soon they’re going to have to start making those decisions that most people end up regretting or disliking later in life. In other words, we are going to have to, suddenly and without much warning, become ADULTS.

die

I know, I know. I’m scared too.

The crazy thing is how much our society supports this quarter-life crisis, indirectly of course. Think about it: we are told by society not to get tattoos because we’d come to regret them when we’re older in the same breath that society also informs us that we need to make a decision what to take in college that will thus determine our entire life paths. We need to be thinking about careers and children before we are even of legal drinking age in the States. We can’t even vote yet we are expected to know our life’s direction.

This thus leads to a quarter-life crisis. Allow me to define this term: a quarter-life crisis occurs when too much stress is put on an individual to grow up and learn how to adult too quickly. High school and college, no matter how long you attended either, do not prepare you for the real world. It doesn’t even matter how many episodes of Friends you’ve seen. They don’t prepare you for what’s coming (unless you have a part in a soap opera and live in New York City or your name is Ms. Chanandler Bong).

The fact is that I know a million useless, trivial facts about the the fall of the Roman Empire and how to divide fractions and that the mitochondria is the fucking powerhouse of the cell (whatever that means) BUT I don’t understand taxes or interest or savings plans of life insurance or retirement savings or where to go to get a passport or what to do if I need the police but it’s not, like, an emergency or anything or who to call if I think I smell poisonous fumes leaking through my house… OR HOW TO EVEN BUY A HOUSE. Damn it, I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!

margarita

And then you have the revelation: “I am grown up.”

Life suddenly smacks you in the face with the realization that while you’re freaking out saying, “I need an adult! I need an adult!”, you actually are the adult and no one’s going to help you.

So you do what any logical, sane person does. You watch Magic School Bus reruns while colouring in a colouring book and drinking grape juice because you are in complete denial about growing up.

I have no idea why society expects so much of our generation, but they do. Life isn’t what it used to be like where boys would learn how to farm from their dads and women would teach their daughters how to run a household. Nope, now we’re expected to be breadwinners AND caregivers, regardless of your gender.

So how do we overcome this epidemic?

Answer: we don’t. We muddle through it, all the while remembering that life isn’t all about money or school or jobs and careers and babies. Just remember that regardless of what happens or what path you take…

You’re going to end up hating it when you’re 45 anyways.

ahhh

My Year in Solitude: The Facts and Myths of Being Single in Your Twenties

I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook the other day when on of those “memory posts” popped up. You know, the kind that says, “See what happened one year ago today!” and posts a 365-day-old photo of you? Well, out of nowhere popped up a photo of me eating Dairy Queen in bed.

I don’t eat Dairy Queen unless a) I’ve just been dumped or b) I just dumped someone.

“Oh wow,” I thought to myself as I looked at the unattractive photo of me scarfing down ice cream. “I’ve been single for a whole year now.”

And BAM! that’s when it hit me. I have been single for a whole year. From the time I first began dating when I was about fourteen or fifteen, this has never once happened to me. I usually go straight from one guy to the next (which I don’t think there’s anything wrong with. I’m young, give me a break) so this whole “single” thing was new to me. I’ve probably never been single for longer than a few months at best before I had moved along.

But suddenly, there I was a whole year later, still without a boyfriend.

Am I complaining? Not at all. Actually, I found this year to be one of the most enjoyable in my whole life. And that’s why I decided to make this post: to debunk a lot of the terrible myths that go with being single.

Myth 1: It’s not them, it’s you.

Hold up. It’s not your fault by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s no one’s fault because there’s no one to blame. If you’re single, it’s because you just are. Period. Maybe you’re holding out for that special someone or maybe you’re just not interested in anyone right now. Whatever the reason, it’s not your fault. And don’t think it’s because of the way you look or act; everyone has their quirks and yours are going to seem endearing to your soulmate when you eventually find him or her.

Fact 1: You get lonely

It doesn’t matter how many friends you have or how supportive your family is. You are bound to get lonely at some points in your single life experience. There will be good days where you feel a little lonely so you call up your friends and go see a movie and forget about your loneliness instantly, but there will also be bad days where you end up sobbing uncontrollably in a bucket of nachos because you think your life is over. It’s important to remember that your life is NOT over, your relationship is. And is that really a bad thing? You might think so now, but give it time and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say it’s for the best.

Myth 2: You’re not single by choice

Actually, it’s pretty much always the opposite. If you didn’t initiate your last breakup, people tend to believe that means you are single because you’ve been forced into this lifestyle. Usually however, single people are asked out on a regular basis. Source: it happens to me all the time, from all sorts of people. I say no 99% of the time however because I’m a very selective person (I’m not talking about physically, I’m just very shy when it comes to meeting new people so I prefer to just… not). Odds are if you are single, there’s a million people out there that want to get with you, you either just have to find them or wait for the right one.

Fact 2: People will treat you differently when you’re single

What’s the best part of having a boyfriend or girlfriend? You’re almost always a lot more social because you’re not only hanging out with him or her more often, but also their friends and friendgroup as well. At bars and clubs, random people will come up to you and hit on you (ESPECIALLY guys – and they’ll almost always try and “dance” with you… and by “dance” I mean try to shove their boner in your ass and wiggle it around and pretend it’s dancing. Yuck). When you’re single, you will also start to understand who your true friends are and who was just with you because you were with your partner.

Myth 3: The worst part about being single is the lack of sex

This myth is mostly surrounding women. People assume that just because you’re single, you aren’t getting laid. Well sorry double-standards, but that’s just not true. Women can get action just as easily, if not easier, than men can. However, this is not always a myth. Many people prefer to only have sex when they’re in a committed relationship. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that also, but again, it’s all about choice. And if you ask me, not having sex would NOT be the worst part about being single; the loneliness would be. It’s painful sometimes when you don’t have anyone to talk to about your day or ask a million questions to.

Fact 3: You will start to understand yourself as a person a bit more

Have you ever been so involved with another person that you stopped being able to imagine yourself without them? Well, the good thing about being single is that you’ll have a lot more time to yourself, meaning you’ll start to discover things you never knew about who you are. Who knows, maybe you’re actually a master ninja in disguise as a heartbroken single. One can dream.

Myth 4: Getting back into dating is hard

Only if YOU make it hard. Often we psych ourselves out before going on dates. We get nervous and panic-y and we start to doubt ourselves. Maybe that’s why people often don’t get a second date; that lack of self-confidence shows while you’re on your first one. Just take chances, date whomever you’d like to and have fun with it. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself if the date goes poorly. Hey, more time to enjoy the single life.

Fact 4: You have more time to yourself

This fact goes hand in hand with number three. While I’ve been single this past year, I’ve climbed mountains, hiked forests, started working out, learned how to crochet, painted landscapes, and did some of my best writing ever. Being single means you don’t have to worry about going out and seeing your SO every night. You can do LITERALLY WHATEVER YOU WANT with your time. Except murder.

Myth 5: You gain weight

Says who? Seriously, I can’t believe some people actually assume this. No, just because we’re single does not mean we’re depressed blobs that cry every night and eat three gallons of ice cream after each meal. It means we aren’t in a relationship, period. In fact, most people I’ve found who are single are in better shape. Why? Because we have more time to work out (see fact four) and we’re usually less stressed about having to impress anyone with our appearance, hence we feel better about the way we look. Even if you do gain a little bit of weight when being/ becoming single, who cares? When you meet the right person, it’s not like they’re going to mind at all.

Fact 5: You’re going to be okay

If you want to start dating again, it will happen. If you want to be in a relationship again, it will happen. Just relax and enjoy where life leads you. I’m risking sounding like a total cliche here but you really should just live for the moment. Stop worrying about ex’s and future boyfriends or girlfriends and just enjoy being who you are at the moment, without a SO. I believe in you, young grasshopper.

Remembrance Day for Loyalist Students

‘Tis the season to remember now that Halloween is over and Christmas is nearly two months away. On Nov. 11, students and staff of Loyalist College will celebrate Remembrance Day to commemorate the lives of soldiers who fought and continue to fight for our country’s freedom.

Remembrance Day first began on Nov. 11, 1918 when the First World War called for a ceasefire at 11:00 a.m. Many Canadians choose to wear poppies every November in recognition of the millions of lives lost during wartime.

So what does Remembrance Day mean to students at Loyalist?

For first year Amelia Munro, it means celebrating the work her father and many other local soldiers have done in the military.

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Munro says she and her family are planning on spending Remembrance Day in downtown Trenton near the Battle Monument where there will be a memorial service held at 11:00 a.m.

Megan Wickens, another first year Loyalist Student, says she also plans on participating in some of this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.

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Wickens is referring to Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc where she has been attending Remembrance Day assemblies for the past several years. Like Munro, Wickens believes Remembrance Day is incredibly important for Canadians to participate in.

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Loyalist College holds an annual Remembrance Day Ceremony in Alumni Hall on Nov. 11 that is open for all staff and students who wish to attend.