How Do You Know If You’re Actually Strong?

hiking_failI 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.

 

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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

Gladys_KravitzI  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

safety-first-1

You’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.

Tips for The Realistic Cooker: Frozen Olive Oil

Olive oilDon’t Store Your Olive Oil Where It Can Freeze Into a Solid Mass

Now, you probably didn’t know this could be a problem, until it happens to you. I didn’t realize this was a thing. The conundrum was thrown at me when I opened my cabinet to find a frozen bottle of olive oil. Apparently the cabinet I keep my oil in is very cold because my olive oil was frozen solid. Faced with the problem of having a salad with just balsamic vinegar, I needed to act quickly.

How to Thaw Your Olive Oil

1. Boil Water

You might think this is the first logical solution, but who has time for that? Plus, it would create more dishes. You have a salad waiting and you’re starving! However, if you’re looking for a fancy solution, this is the one for you.

2. Body Heat

Why boil water when you have a natural source of heat at your fingertips. Take your bottle of frozen olive oil and hold it close like it’s your child, your frozen child who’s on the verge of hypothermia.

3. Warm Running Water

Still frozen, eh? Take that bottle and run it under some very hot water. That should release enough for you to enjoy your salad. Wala! A salad is born.

Pretending to Live Like the Rich and Famous

toronto-pool-1It’s time for another episode of Rachel’s Life Tips. The program where Rachel (me) tells you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it.

In today’s episode, I will teach you how to vacation without taking any time off work. (cue intro music). I’ve recently learned that you don’t actually have to be rich and famous to live like those that are. There are plenty of “life hacks”, (as the kids say) to achieve pretty much the same goals while maintaining your anonymity and 9-5 job. A common thing that the rich and famous do is enjoy lavish vacations. Okay, so you pretty much have to be rich to enjoy the lavish part. However, why not take a day off from life and enjoy a mini vacation? Trade in a Saturday of errands and stress for one lounging and drinking by the pool. (Don’t forget your sunscreen, big sunglasses, and extravagant sun hat.)

A Pool with a View

Nothing says vacation quite like a rooftop pool. I’ve recently discovered the magic of rooftop pools! Ahh! You don’t have a rooftop pool? Not a problem. There are plenty of hotels that do. Yes, some of them are only open to guests, but if you do your research, you will discover other hotels which allow you to purchase a day pass into their tranquil oasis. If you’re feeling super fancy, you can even venture out into the higher end options who (only) offer monthly memberships.

Not Just a Pool (A Pool with Benefits)

When selecting your tranquil escape, I recommend looking for a pool with additional services. There’s no sense in ruining the vacation vibe by bringing your own food. Find a pool which includes a restaurant where servers tend to you by the pool and will bring you all the drinks and pizza you’re willing to pay for. Go big or stay home, I always say. I also recommend towel service. Who wants to lug a towel around all day just to lug it back home all wet? Exactly!

Pretend to be a Tourist

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, I recommend pretending to be a tourist in your own backyard. You know those double decker tour buses that drive around your city (assuming you live in a big city)? The ones that point out famous places like where Drake’s dad buys his groceries? Discover what it is that tourists come to see. That is, if your city is a place tourists come to see. If anything, it’s a much more exciting way to travel around the city. You may even surprise yourself.

Happy Vacationing!