Learning to (Pretend) Fight

boxing_blogI’ve decided to become a fighter (take a boxing class). Someone like Demi Lovato… or the name of a real fighter [Note to self, learn the names of fighters that make you sound tougher when referencing]. I know what you’re thinking. Who’s trying to fight you? You live in Canada. People are nice there. That’s what I tried to explain to the instructor. He keeps referencing people wanting to fight me and insists I be prepared. I don’t think he realizes I’m here for the fitness aspect. I don’t plan on taking these skills into the real world. I don’t want to get hit in the face. Right, no one plans to get hit in the face.

Things You Should Know If You Want to be a Boxer

Boxing is like no other sport. You will have many unexpected injuries, especially considering the only people you’re fighting are imaginary.

Gloves are measured in ounces.

Apparently this refers to the weight of the glove and not the amount of liquid it can hold. Judging by the amount of sweat they accumulated, I’d bet my gloves can hold a lot more than 14 oz.

You can get injured even if you’re not fighting anyone.

Skipping is a big part of boxing. Not the actual fighting part, but apparently every good fighter has rhythm and skipping is the way to do that. However, you should know that skipping ropes are basically whips. Until you get the hang of it, you should be prepared for welts. I guess they’re not so much welts as raised slash marks. Either way, you’ll look like you lost an argument with a tiger. 

Skipping improperly will make you feel old.

It’s possible to jump wrong. If you jump wrong, your knees will be very sore and you will limp around work feeling that as soon as you hit 30, your body started to fall apart. Don’t worry, this can be corrected with practice and learning to jump better. It might take a while, though. You should have lots of ice on hand and plenty of Advil.

You’ll have to learn how to take a body shot.

One of the first exercises you will partake in as a fighter in training is learning to take a body shot. Again, who’s trying to punch me in the stomach? You will lie on the ground with your abdominal muscles flexed while another individual in the class drops a medicine ball on your stomach…repeatedly…from a couple of feet above you. This is to get you used to someone coming up to you and unexpectedly punching you in the stomach. It’s an incredibly odd feeling that you can’t prepare for. I’ve been told this is what getting the wind knocked out of you feels like. As I’m not a natural fighter, the only time I’ve experienced a similar feeling is when I fell out of a hammock, flat on my face. Don’t worry, the more you practice, the less it will hurt, except when your instructor kicks it up a notch and the ball is dropped from much higher.

How to Survive The Canadian Winter

winter_blogSince both Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie had to go and see their shadows (you had one job!) and it doesn’t look like winter is coming to a close anytime soon, it’s best you be prepared. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

5 Ways to Make Wintering Easier

Living in Canada, you learn very quickly (or with age) that it snows rather frequently. With that, you need to dress and act accordingly.

1. Waterproof Boots

It’s time to say goodbye to those impractical, pretty boots and say hello to something that will keep your feet warm and dry, especially when shoveling snow for a long period of time. You think your leather boots will be fine until you’ve been sitting at work all day and your feet refuse to warm up. Now, your boots don’t have to be ugly, but you should know that sometimes that’s what it takes .

2. A Long Coat

Yes, a short winter coat is not completely impractical; however, (in my experience) it’s more important to have a coat that will continue to keep you warm when you sit down, especially on the subway. It also helps to protect you from many a frigid breeze. Be kind to your behind.

3. Multiple Pairs of Gloves

I’ve learned that you can’t get everything you need from one pair of gloves. It’s important to have a pair of gloves that will keep you warm and dry while shoveling snow. Unfortunately, these gloves are not great for grabbing things, especially in your car. This is why you also need a pair of driving gloves. I suggest keeping them in the glove box. That’s what it’s for, right? Lastly, I always keep a pair of fingerless gloves on hand. These are very handy when using your phone, not that i do that when i’m driving, because that would be dangerous! They’re also handy while snacking in the car, there’s no need to lose feeling in your hands just because you’re hungry.

4. An Adjustable Snow Brush

That’s right, not just any snow brush. You need one that can swivel and reach across your car, allowing you to clean your car off more efficiently and allowing you to spend less time brushing it off. You’re welcome!

5. The Will to Go Outside

This one has actually been the most difficult for me to achieve. Sometimes, this means being a grown-up and realizing that if you don’t shovel the driveway, you will have trouble getting to work on time or you could fall on your face trying to get to your car. Other times, this means, throwing caution to the wind (mildy) and going out after dark . Even though it’s cold outside, it’s not good for your mental well being to hibernate until spring.

How Do You Know If You’re Actually Strong?

strong_blogI workout fairly regularly and would consider myself strong-ish. I mean, I’m no bodybuilder, but I’ve moved past the sissy dumbbells. However, I have recently become aware that being strong at the gym and being strong in real life are two very different things. It’s similar to being book smart and street smart. You might think you’re strong because you can lift objects with cushy handles, but using your strength in real life is a different story!

Are you strong or do you just workout?

Splitting Logs

For those of you city-dwellers who have never been faced with this survivalist task, it’s much harder than it looks. Sure, it’s easy swinging an axe and getting it stuck in the log. It’s another thing entirely to have enough strength to power right through the log.

Going for a Hike

Once you find your rhythm, walking, or even running on a treadmill is fairly simple. Going on a hike in the great outdoors is yet again, very different! You will be thrown by the uneven terrain and the fact that you’re actually travelling beyond a stationary spot like in your gym. Embrace the added benefit of fresh air.

Moving Quickly for a Long Period of Time (aka Endurance)

Activities may include rowing (an actual boat) or paddle boating. Basically, anything that requires cardiovascular activity. It’s one thing to have the strength to do something for a short stint. It’s another to have the endurance to paddle around a whole (small) island.

Pulling Yourself Up

I may have discovered the difficulty of this task at the gym, but it definitely applies to real life (survival) situations. Sure, it’s easy when you have your legs moving you from one point to another. It’s much more difficult when all you have is your arms. My arms may look strong, but when put to the test, they don’t do so great. I’m regretting not playing on the monkey bars more as a child.


Time Saving Tips for Those On-The-Go

hungover_bobI am not what you would call a morning person. I know, but surprise! Being that mornings aren’t my friend, I try to plan ahead as much as I can so I’m spend as much time in my cozy bed as possible. Hey, if the sun ain’t up, I shouldn’t be either! I’ve found that the more I do before I go to bed, the fewer things I have to do in the morning. Here are a few of my tips and tricks. Be sure to thank me in the comments below!

1. Preparation, preparation, preparation is key

Get as much ready the night before. This includes getting my lunch ready, getting my outfit ready, and getting my breakfast ready. I try to leave as much time for sleep as I can.

2. Breakfast on the go

Even if I’m running late (which is often), I do not skip breakfast. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day. However, who has time to eat breakfast at home? Never mind the time spent to prepare it. You could be sleeping. Hello??? I mean Zzz. Make sure you have many on the go friendly breakfast treats on hand. Utilize your time on the weekend to prepare them. You will thank me later! As my gift to you, here is the link to 9 Ridiculously Healthy Three Ingredient Treats (they freeze beautifully). Although, this does mean you’ll have to vacuum your car more frequently. You’d be surprised how many crumbs come from a single muffin.

3. Have multiple travel mugs

Who has time/ wants to do the dishes every day, especially when you don’t have a dishwasher. Not me.

4. Allow me to introduce you to Febreeze, your new best friend

I’m not suggesting you replace your laundry detergent altogether. After all, I’m not a fanatic; however, sometimes washing clothes takes too long/ you forgot and it’s too late to pick out a new outfit. Now, don’t get carried away. This handy trick is only ideal for borderline need to be washed clothes. If your clothing item of choice is buried under a pile of smelly gym clothes, you should go ahead and pick a new outfit.

5. GPS

Even if you know where you’re going. Knowing your ETA is key and provides peace of mind that you won’t be late for work, even if you’ll arrive exactly on time, it counts as not late!

6. Wear the same jewelry every day

One less decision. Check!

Neighbours: They’re Not Just to Complain About

neighbour_blogI  grew up in the country where neighbours are few and far between. Now that I live in the big city (suburbs), I’m learning that there’s something to having people closeby. They’re good for more than just a cup of sugar, which is helpful because I rarely (never) bake and the chances of me needing a cup of sugar are pretty slim. However, there’s a much larger chance I’ll need advice from someone familiar with the neighborhood (gossip) or who knows more about cars than I do. 

What your neighbours can do for you

1. Protection from thieves/intruders

Gladys Kravitz is way handier than people gave her credit for. If you don’t know who Gladyz Kravitz is, she’s from Betwitched…and we’re no longer friends.

2. Protection from (potential) murderers

See #1

3. They can keep you from blowing up your car and/or face

I’ve learned to appreciate the inquisitive neighbour who, after seeing me attempt to change a taillight, asks if I know what I’m doing. I did not…

4. Part-time dog friends

This is especially nice when your apartment does not allow pets.

5. Free entertainment

i.e. street peewee hockey, pool parties, etc.

6. Drama.

Just when you think it’s going to be another ordinary evening, you come home to find three cops parked on your street, in front of the house next door. 

7. Music

Before you can wish you can hear Twist and Shout blasting from your stereo, there it is, coming from the obnoxiously loud party next door.

8. Free swimming

Now, I haven’t actually figured out how to swing this one, but I’m working on it. Suggestions welcome. 

I suppose this also means that you should be willing, if able, to do the following for your neighbours as well… Also, this list is not all inclusive. If you have experienced other benefits from your neigbours, please, do share!

I Hurt Myself at the Gym So You Don’t Have To

gym_safetyYou’re at the gym. You’re in the zone. The last thing you want to do is ruin your workout by falling off of a machine. Yeah, it can happen. Fortunately for you, although unfortunately for me, I’ve already experienced a number of gym-related injuries. I’m here to share my misfortunes in the hopes that you can avoid an embarrassing gym moment or a nasty bonk to the head.

My Top 8 Gym Safety Tips

1. Watch where you’re going.

You may not think that this one belongs on the list. It does. Sometimes you’re in the zone and you’ve just finished an extremely difficult exercise and are moving onto the next. Before you know it, you bend down to pick up a weight and forget that the squat bar jets out further out than you remember. Bonk. Right in the face.

2. Don’t touch gym equipment and then touch your eye.

I don’t care how itchy your eye is. I don’t care if you think you’ve rubbed your finger clean on your shirt. Don’t do it. Your eye will get so much worse.

3. Don’t be dramatic when putting your weights away.

No matter how tired you are, place your weights down carefully. Remember, your fingers are very close by. It might look cool, but you know what doesn’t look cool? Blue finger nails…

4. Don’t kick gym equipment.

No matter how light a piece of equipment looks, don’t try to kick it out of your way. It’s gym equipment. You will hurt yourself.

5. Ensure the locker doors around you are closed before you tie your shoe.

You cannot imagine the pain that ensues when you stand up from tying your shoes and bonk yourself on an open locker door. Yes, it’s unpleasant.

6. The Internet is not the same as a personal trainer.

Exercise caution when trying a new exercise you learned on the internet. I don’t want to tell you that everything on the internet is bad. However, if you see a video and think, “Huh, that’s a creative use of that machine,” don’t do it! There’s a reason why that machine was not intended for that type of use.

7. Take Notes.

When working out with your trainer (assuming you read my previous post and got one), take accurate notes. If not, you could put the machine at an extremely low weight and fall off. I wish this didn’t happen to me. I also wish that I didn’t end up with a giant bruise on my leg from the fall.

8. Don’t challenge your trainer.

Yes, you want your trainer to push you to your limit, but exercise caution. He will rise to that challenge and you’ll be unable to walk for two days.

Hipsters in The Park

9138614929_adc3430b99_hDowntown parks have way more variety than parks in the suburbs. Sure, you have the typical runners and Frisbee enthusiasts, but there are so many more groups of people that you just don’t find in the suburbs.

Who You’ll Find at a Hipster Park

  1. The Ill Prepared

    It’s 30 degrees Celsius and sunny. Maybe don’t wear black slacks and a black polo shirt.

  2. The Well Prepared

    Why sit on the ground when you have a chair that folds away into our backpack?

  3. The Over Prepared

    It’s the park. It’s not a 10 day trek across the Andes.

  4. Stoners Learning to Hula Hoop

    Pretty self-explanatory.

  5. Old Hippies

    The hippie just pulled out his iPad. I don’t know how i feel about this. Aren’t hippies supposed to be against “the man”? I guess technology isn’t so bad? Although, his attention seems to be more drawn to the stoner hula hoopers.

  6. Hipsters That Think They Can Throw a Football

    Again, pretty self-explanatory.

  7. The Newlyweds That Think a Busy Park is the Perfect Wedding Photo Backdrop

    I’m sure they’ll look back at their photos for years to come with fondness…

Hipster Garage Sale

Another thing that can often be found in a hipster park is a garage sale. Hipster garage sales are not like ordinary garage sales. I grew up in a place where a garage sale meant collecting all of your old toys and clothes and hoping someone else wanted them. If someone was willing to pay you $10 for your “vintage” friendship making kit, that was a steal! I recently ventured downtown and learned that garage sales mean something very different here.

I don’t understand how all of these people just “happen” to have antique glassware and (overpriced) records they’re trying to unload. It would also appear that used hats are all the rage (Head lice risk? No, thank you).

Fan Clubs

Of course fan clubs meet in hipster parks. Now I’ve never seen Orphan Black, but from the fan club, it would appear to have something to do with clones and pencils. Black clothes and yellow hair also seem to play a role. Oh, they have press-on tattoos…I wonder if they have any that aren’t Orphan Black related.

Bonus Fun Fact: There’s never a fear of being the palest/least tanned person at a hipster park. At a hipster park, if you’re tanned, you stand out.