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.

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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!

 

C-List Celebrity Sightings

paparazzi_1Some days, you never quite know where the day will take you. One minute you’re just going about your day. The next minute you’re watching a random guy faun over a c-list celebrity while he tries to enjoy a coffee with his wife. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this rando is truly hoping they’ll become best friends. I don’t think the celeb feels quite the same way. Oh, he did not just mention he wrote a screenplay…Run c-list celeb! Run!

Now, I will not drop the name of the celebrity I spotted. Mainly, to protect his (or her) identity, but also to keep the mystery alive. I always think the world could use more mystery, but I digress. However, I am going to share some helpful tips so you don’t end up stumbling upon an embarrassing situation for yourself.

So, you’ve spotted someone famous, now what?

1. Are you sure they’re famous?

C-list celebrities are tricky. Unlike A-list (and most B-list celebs), you don’t always know when one crosses your path. They almost look like normal civilians. They don’t have swarms of people following them as if they’re Brad Pitt. You end up staring at them for an uncomfortably long time trying to figure out why they look so familiar. It’s generally best if you can figure out who the individual is before you interrupt their peaceful afternoon, or frighten them.

2. No, he didn’t come to Starbucks to meet you.

I know, it’s shocking. I love when a stranger just plunks himself down next to a fairly well-known actor and starts talking to them like they’re friends. Just because someone’s on TV, and (virtually) spends a lot of time in your living room, that doesn’t mean you know them. Okay, maybe you know them, but they definitely don’t know you. Just let the man drink his coffee. I bet he wishes he didn’t sit down at the communal table. That’s always a gamble. Fortunately, for me, the gamble payed off with this interesting exchange. I’m not sure this actor feels the same way.

3. No, you are not the same person.

I love when certain individuals meet people with interesting jobs and they all of a sudden try to justify how they’re pretty much the same person. Ok, yeah…that’s why you’re not a fire fighter. “Oh, you’re an actor? I did theatre in high school.” Yeah, that’s the same. “I’m actually working on a screenplay…” (They always happen to be working on a screenplay). “You have a “daughter” who wants to be an actor? Great…”

Grown Up Easter

Celebrating Easter as an adult is tricky. Society leads us to believe that Easter is for kids. It’s all about the furry little animals and egg hunts. If the kids in your family have grown past Easter eggs hunts, what do you do?

Planning an Easter egg hunt can be a lot of work. Most people would assume that this leads to the end of Easter egg hunts. Not in my family. Apparently, the alternative involves my grandma throwing a salad bowl full of eggs in all directions while the grandchildren run to collect them. Eggs are thrown everywhere. There’s really no telling where they’ll land. The floor, the dinner table, your drink. She really can’t see so well.

Even though we’ve grown, the tradition continues. However, we’re not collecting eggs to enjoy a sweet treat as much as we are trying to keep them away from the dogs. Although the dogs seem very excited at the thought of their own hunt, it wouldn’t really bring quite the Easter surprise everyone hopes for. Also, don’t forget to check your drinks for stray eggs and broken glass. Enjoy!

How to be Invisible

dummyConfrontation is uncomfortable. It’s even more uncomfortable when it involves telling someone that you don’t like them. My theory is: avoid confrontation at all costs. If you are quick enough and have a stream-lined system, you can still enjoy your favourite places, like the gym, without running into or having to face the seemingly inevitable uncomfortable situation.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you unintentionally caught the eye of someone at your gym. How did this happen? This is your happy place! Your escape from the world! You just renewed your membership for another year and now you have to quit! No, you don’t. Okay, let’s call that Plan B.

I’m here to tell you, there’s a better way. I call it the “get in/get out” approach. At the gym (hypothetically speaking), there are some people looking to chat. Some might even go out of their way to find you and start up a conversation when you’re clearly trying you pretend you didn’t see them when you walked in.

Earphones provide a great “La, la, la, I can’t hear you. I’m listening to music/ I’m in the zone” kind of vibe. I recommend one of those handy arm straps so you can continue to work out without having to also hold your phone/Zune/music listening device of choice. You don’t actually like listening to music when you work out? Not a problem. Handy tip: listening to music and pretending to listen to music look pretty much exactly the same. Maybe bop your head a few times so it looks like you’re really jamming out.

Focus is also key. Keep your eyes from straying and accidentally catching said person’s eye who might then notice you looking at them and take it as you wanting to talk to them/be friends in real life/outside the gym (or wherever). When you’re on the treadmill, look at the screen or your phone. When you’re walking from the treadmill to your locker or weights, look at the ground. You can also try looking down at your phone and pretending that you’re checking an important message, but this takes a skilled individual with a keen sense of their surroundings. If done incorrectly, you could accidentally walk into said individual and your carefully thought out plan goes straight in the garbage.

If you’re as stealth as an anvil and you’re not willing to bite the financial bullet of Plan B, there’s always Plan C. Write a blog post about your current situation and hope that said individual happens upon it and realizes that you’re a nice person who just didn’t want to break his heart and/or crush his dreams. Hypothetically speaking, of course.