30 Mar

Links for a Sunday Morning

The Overprotected Kid – The Atlantic

It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting.

Mirror Mirror – RadioLab

How mirrors (and the reversed images they reflect) lie to us.

The Toxins that Threaten our Brains – The Atlantic

Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater.

Industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’? – The Guardian

Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.”

Why Beyonce is Wrong this Time – The Globe and Mail

Rather than saying, “My daughter is bossy,” [parents] should say, “My daughter has executive leadership skills.” The implication being that these two things are not only interchangeable, but that one defines the other. As anyone who has dealt with a dictatorial five-year-old knows, this is not generally the case.

ANALYSIS: The Ukraine crisis through the whimsy of international law – CBC News

That’s diplomacy. Hypocritical declarations and acts are woven into its essence. What’s remarkable is the unspoken pact among the Western news media to report it all so uncritically.

Body-Image Pressure Increasingly Affects Boys – The Atlantic

Movies and magazines increasingly display bare-chested men with impossibly chiseled physiques and six-pack abs. “The media has become more of an equal opportunity discriminator. Men’s bodies are not good enough anymore either.”

Yoga Poses in Israel – NY Times

Students, taught in single-sex classes, are encouraged to come as they are, even in day clothes or long skirts, if necessary.

Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure – Psychology Today

All of the physical symptoms of performance anxiety—racing heart, sweaty palms, dry mouth, upset stomach, shakiness—are the result of your vagus nerve disengaging. Luckily, you have the power to harness your vagus nerve and keep it engaged to create grace under pressure.

What Your Activity Tracker Sees and Doesn’t See – NY Times

The accelerometer measures only motion, not exertion — no matter how hard you’re straining yourself or how heavy the deadlift is.

21 Mar

International Day of Happiness

Today was the UN’s International Day of Happiness. A day for remembering that happiness is not about accumulation of wealth and goods but about the day to day experiences of community, security, nature, and the simple pleasures of life.

The UN launched a big social media campaign to raise awareness to make happiness a global priority and to reframe economic growth in a way that is inclusive of citizens’ happiness and well-being.

I was all over it on my yoga facebook and twitter pages, posting pictures of things that make me happy to remind me of all the great things that are going on in the world (counteracting stories like this and this).


My dad My husband, and travelling with my husband My husband, and travelling with my husband DSCF4295 Happiness Day

14 Mar

5/3/1 Cycle 15 Recap


So, uh, yeah. I know I said this at the beginning of my last 5/3/1 recap, but cycle of 5/3/1 was indeed UNREAL folks.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women

The last time that I had recapped with you at cycle 11 I took a step back in my training programme and repeated cycle 11 because I wasn’t quite prepared for the targets that I was supposed to reach.

Sometimes you have to cut back to make progress, and progress I did indeed make.

Not only did I break all of my Personal Records last week but I had this especially exciting news. . .

I bench pressed my body weight!

Finally! I’ve had this goal for 2 years now though have been making the most effort on it in the last 14 months or so.

165lbs wasn’t actually part of my calculated lifts for this cycle, but when I pressed up 160lbs for 3 reps (mostly on my own, but with a bit of the husband’s help on rep 3), Matt encouraged me to try 165lb, my body weight.

I was so ecstatic when I pressed the weight up all by myself.

Goal, achieved. Boys working out beside me, jealous. Even my dad was impressed (and he is, by nature, not an easy man to be genuinely impressed).

My bench press goal was so exciting it overshadowed all the other loads that I hit last week, and they were pretty impressive in themselves.

Main Lifts

Again, I can’t even believe these numbers are real.

Deadlift: 265lb for 1 reps

Push Press: 135lb for 1 rep – finally put up 45’s on the bar!

Squats: 250lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 165lb for 1 rep – did I mention, that’s my body weight?

I haven’t calculated my loads for cycle 16 yet so I’m nervous about what I’ll see, but I’m also very excited too.


I mentioned last week that my friend, a holistic nutritionist in training, gave me a diet to follow to help me gain muscle. I had initially gained a pound right away but I lost it again so I’m back at where I started.

I’ve averaged 2500 cal per day with a 36% fat, 44% carb, 20% protein mix.

Aside from not having put on weight yet, I have been feeling much more stable (emotionally) and I my sugar cravings have been reduced which I attribute (I think) to having more fat in my diet. Or it could be more muscle too. Or it could be just eating more in general and not withholding food only to binge on sweets later. Not sure yet. I only know it’s working so I’ll keep it up.

I intend to keep tracking my macros and following her recommendations because 1) I’m her guinea pig and want to give her accurate results, and 2) I’m liking it so far.

Will check back in with progress as I squeeze in time. Things have been hectic lately 😛

09 Mar

Links for a Sunday Morning

The Most Visited Countries in the World – Gizmodo

If you’ve ever wondered which country was the most popular tourist destination, wonder no longer.

10 Places to Go While They’re Still Cheap – Airfare Watchdog

Whether you’re on the prowl for a perfect beach or a city bursting with culture, these cities and countries deliver big but cost little. Not all of them will stay cheap in the years to come, though, so if you’re inspired to go, do it soon.

Why the Olympics are a lot like The Hunger Games – The Nation

Now I understand my failure to connect to the pomp of the opening ceremonies, the confused emptiness that consumed me as I stood in the cold of a Turin winter, wrapped in the American flag, wincing under the cruel glare of a thousand flashbulbs. The real function of the Olympic athlete in the world of corporatized sports is clear to me now. 

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga – Huffington Post

Yoga increases flexibility and reduces stress, but the practice can do more than help you twist your body into pretzel shapes and find inner peace.

The Pollutants in your Face Wash – Marketplace

Lots of personal care products—like facial scrubs and even some toothpastes—are jammed with little plastic beads.  When they go down the drain, they end up in our lakes and rivers, by the millions.  They’re too small to be filtered out by water-treatment systems.  

The ‘Shocking’ Outcome of the Biggest Loser is not all that Shocking – Fit & Feminist

That shit is not inspirational.  It is DANGEROUS.  These are the tricks of eating disorders dressed up with dramatic music and lighting and turned into mass entertainment.

Our Bars and Too Loud and Cafes are Too Quiet – Slate

For centuries, bars and cafés around the world have fostered dissent and bottom-up political action. Cafés, especially, have bedeviled the authorities as long as they’ve existed. 

In the Name of Love – Slate

Labor is not something one does for compensation but is an act of love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, presumably it is because the worker’s passion and determination were insufficient.

03 Mar

Holistic Nutrition Recommendations

I’m currently acting as a guinea pig for my friend Sarah who’s studying for her Holistic Nutrition certification from CSNN.

Sarah needed a group of volunteers to act as case studies so she could perform assessments to determine our nutritional needs and get feedback from us as to whether her recommendations are working out.

My Goals

I’m always up for some help in the nutrition department, especially with a holistic bent, and I’m a unique candidate in the sense that I’m a female who is not trying to lose weight but looking to put on lean muscle (ie. gain weight) instead.

I’m hoping to eat well for optimal energy, to put on lean muscle, and to get stronger and improve my weight lifting.

Sarah was happy to take me on as a case. She asked me 4.2 billion questions about my goals, my health history, my mood, my bowel movements…all that fun stuff… and then gave me a list of things to incorporate into my diet to improve my wellbeing and gave sample mealplan of the calories and macros I should be eating.

I implemented her recos last week.


Sarah suggested that I eat:
2400 calories with the mix of 20% protein, 30% fat, 50% carbohydrates.

It’s a reasonable amount of food and should be sustainable for me (I mean, the girl incorporated a cookie into my daily meal plan, how can I not love that?).
I found that I’ve been eating more on days that I weightlifted and less on days I didn’t, but overall I averaged right around the 2400 mark. The mix of fat is a bit higher than I currently eat which she said I need in order to to support hormone function, muscle growth, and calm my crazy sugar cravings.

She also offered me other recommendations like:

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar daily for a lot of reasons like burning body fat and aiding digestion and bloating after meals

– I could use a magnesium supplement for PMS symptoms (much needed!) and muscles recovery.

– I probably have a tryptophan deficiency which causes crazy mood swings. I need more tryptophan foods like spinach and red meat

– My mood swings, along with my complete lack of concentration, might also be because my adrenals are in a resistance phase. She recommended a B complex and maca.

– I should incorporate turmeric into my diet. It’s an anti-inflammatory which can help prevent arthritis (which runs in my family).

– I need more cholesterol to increase testosterone production to get jacked.

. . . among other things.

I e-mailed Sarah this weekend with a longwinded, probably-too-detailed e-mail chronicling how things have been going.

Results, Week 1:

So far, so good. I’ve gained a pound this week. My mood was generally stable and my sugar cravings a bit less intense. I felt a bit bloated and had a couple of headaches midday during the week, but other than that I generally felt well.

I’m going to continue to implement the recommendations for several more weeks and see how this all goes.

Sarah and I

Sarah and I