Wednesday, November 30, 2011
For those of you unfamiliar with this fantastic flick, a brief synopsis to bring you up to speed. Five students from different high school cliques are forced to spend one Saturday detention with one another. In their own way they explore their preconceived notions and realize that they have more in common than meets the eye.
As I matured, I realized that “The Breakfast Club” thematically was correct. You cannot compartmentalize people into neat little groups. People are complex creatures offering a wide range of emotional depth as well as intellect and talent. Sure folks have an image they portray but underneath that exterior is multi-dimensional person right? I still believe this is true, everywhere except the gym, a strange world that seems to encourage people to live up to their stereotypes. Just like high school. The movie focused on an individual from one of the five following cliques: athletes, princesses, basket cases, criminals and brains. I have used the same terms to outline some of the noticeable groups at my gym.
Athletes aka Jocks – Everyone has some of these folks at their gym. Typically male, although more women are joining this highly vascular scene. You can hear them a mile away cheering each other on with ridiculous sayings while spotting a buddy. Often their words really don’t make sense. Some of my favorites; “Come on buddy you gotta show those weights who’s boss.” “Dude own it, own it man, don’t take no for an answer.” “Don’t think just lift Champ.” For all of their rippling muscles most have a very difficult time setting weights down gently, instead they drop them letting them crash to the floor. If they are not actually in the weight room they are standing around the juice bar swapping stories about protein shakes and caloric input / output. Often they can be seen flexing in front of one of the many mirrors. They make sure the weight room is always blasting 80’s power ballads, which they keep the beat to using primitive grunts. (I have taken to roaring like a lion when I lift because it really throws them off their game.) Once I was in the ladies locker room and was convinced someone was giving birth in the weight room. The noise was identical to that of a woman in labor. I listened a little harder and was relieved to hear “Rock You Like a Hurricane” with a man obscenely yelling “Kick some ass sea bass.” No one giving birth just blasting the ole guns.
Princesses – These gals spend most of their time in the cardio room doing their best to not get sweaty while looking like they are doing their best to get sweaty. Their stylish outfits shine in hot pinks and bright blues, and are always tight while showing some of their flawless, taunt skin. And why not? They have perfect bodies, perfect hair and perfectly white bright smiles.They are the women who apply makeup before they work out. They look better at the gym than I do on date night. I picture the princesses scrubbing toilets in dirty sweat pants with cakey orange makeup. I know it’s mean but it makes me feel better, so I don’t want to hear it. Oh how these perfect, pink, princesses prance in front of me causing self confidence shake downs and flashes of envy. They flip through Cosmo or In-Style while mindlessly climbing stairs or skipping along on the elliptical. Their nail polished isn’t even chipped! Do they float through life in a bubble? It is not as simple as they look great, it is that they look great effortlessly. I know this is a lie, a facade, a non truth that they conjured and I believe. But how the heck do they do it? What’s the secret, the esoteric black magic of the trophy wife princess.
Criminals – I’m taking some liberties with this label but I feel it is the most fitting given the options. The term criminal applies to anyone guilty of bad gym etiquette! Sweat all over your machine and not wipe it down when you are finished? Criminal! Are you a man who wears short shorts and lets it all hang while doing squats? Criminal! That lady who sits in the ladies locker room completely naked while painting her toe nails and trying to strike up friendly conversation with me? Criminal! Leaving extremely heavy weights on bars so it takes me forever to move them? Criminal! You know the type, inconsiderate, annoying and unfortunately all too common!
Basket Case – These people normally have a personal trainer. They apparently believe that they are paying the trainer to work out and get in shape for them because I often hear them grumbling about actually doing the work. They try and use conversation to avoid working out, thus still feeling good about themselves because they went to the gym! They think because they have a trainer they will be in shape in no time! Reality check, they will spend extra cash and see limited results because deep down they don’t want to work out, they want to pay someone to do it for them. Listen working out stinks, that horrible burny feeling in your lungs that says your chest is about to explode? It stinks. The pain in your butt and thighs from the evil treadmill? It stinks! But you know what? That means your body is changing! I think the term is “feel the burn.” I listen to some of these basket cases complaining that they don’t want to do another set, or don’t want to go up another level on the elliptical! The whole purpose of hiring a trainer it to push you harder than you will push yourself. Trainers keep you on track, give you pep talks and make you answer to someone. True accountability which is a really awesome thing! You don’t need to kill it every time you go to the gym, but don’t fake it and then have the audacity to bitch about your trainer who is trying to motivate you to actually work out.
Brains- These people are nuts. I mean they are the real crazies. These are the folks who don’t run marathons because they are no longer a challenge. They are in training, for everything, all of the time. They train for biathlons, triathlons, Iron Man Competitions, the eco challenge, setting a new record for the Appalachian trail, scaling Everest, blindfolded long distance speed skating. Ok I made that last one up but you get the point. They use gizmos to make their work outs more difficult because a fully stocked gym doesn’t offer enough options. They run on the treadmills wearing high elevation masks and weight vests. They rig the TRX system is ways the defy gravity and would most likely leave me dead. They stand on their hands and do push ups for a minute followed by doing one handed pull ups for a minute. They are mix of Bear Grylls and MacGyver. Birkam Yoga? So last year! The brains have already moved on to Anti-Gravity Yoga! Pilates and kick boxing? What is this the 90s? The brains have been piloxing (google it, it’s a real thing) for a year now and are ready for something us regular folk haven’t even imagined.
So there you have it, how my gym is just like “The Breakfast Club.” My husband tells me not to pay attention to what other people are doing in the gym. He says I should mind my own business, which is great advice. But it is so darn hard when I have a princess popping her gum next to me, or a brain suspended from the ceiling! So there you have it, how my gym is just like “The Breakfast Club.” My husband tells me not to pay attention to what other people are doing in the gym. He says I should mind my own business, which is great advice. But it is so darn hard when I have a princess popping her gum next to me, or a brain suspended from the ceiling!
- Find the local sledding hill, instead of watching bring an extra sled and use it! Sledding is exhilarating and the walk back up the hill will reach deep into your legs and behind. Be sure to wear something water proof like Junonia’s Alpine Ski Pant, otherwise you will suffer with a cold wet bottom.
- Build a snowman or snowwoman! Looks easy when you see your kids finished product, but pushing massive snowballs around the yard can be a challenge!
- If you live close to a frozen body of water, play a little boot-broom hockey. Make sure the ice is safe before walking onto it. I would recommend a pond or lake that is open to the public and is in use by other families for safety purposes. Grab a snow shovel, a soccer ball and some brooms. First clear an area of snow for your “rink.” Make your kids help, this is hard work. Set makers for goals on each end, I use snowballs, and play a little family game of hockey using the brooms as sticks and the soccer ball as a puck. You will be laughing and sweating in no time and don’t even need to buy skates! Make sure to layer using a wicking base layer to stay dry and comfortable.
- Build a few snow forts one day. When your entire family arrives, play a huge game of capture the flag complete with snowball fight. It’s a great stress reliever and work out!
- Go on a photo safari. Take a nice long walk through the woods with a camera and encourage your kids to take pictures of the surrounding winter wonderland.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
- Stuff their stocking with, of course, STOCKINGs. Who doesn’t love them? And Junonia has the best from athletic crews to knee-high trendy stripes in a full calf fit.
- UNDERWEAR! It’s not just from grandma anymore. Choose from our classic briefs, our lacy bike shorts, or a sports bra. And if travel is the theme, go for the quick-drying QuikWik®. These are great for anything form long car rides to nature hikes!Klean Kanteen®
- Recognize if you are an introvert. 25% of the population that needs quiet and alone time to re-charge. Tell people that is what you are doing, and let them know you’ll be back! Take a walk, read a book, talk one-on-one with someone. You’ll come back to the group re-charged.
- Plan ahead to avoid family conflict. Talk about the gift-giving protocol this year WAY ahead of time. Money is tight for many people, so is this the year to put a dollar limit, or perhaps say only creative and hand made gifts, or draw names from a hat? Or maybe this is the year that everyone donates a fixed amount on someone else’s behalf to the creative charity that best reflects the receiver. Last year I “got” a goat from my mom through Heifer International! I loved it.
- Plan for Fun. I pulled out the scramble game last night with my son. Unfortunately he is a champion-quality player, so I did not have a chance. But we had a great time. I had forgotten how much fun games are. They mix up the group, draw in all ages, and do what holidays are for—spending quality time together. Stock up on games. I love board and word games, but the Wii station has some hysterical physical games that are great for all ages.
- Tone down the expectations. Is it really so bad to have paper plates if that means less time in the kitchen and more time playing games and talking? Potluck those special holiday foods, one specialty per family. Last year we all pitched in and bought the core holiday dinner from the local good grocery store and we loved it! The meat was amazing. Better than we would have done for ourselves. And we just had to pick it up.
- Give of yourself. Does your family have a holiday tradition of giving? Is it time to start one? This could be as simple as taking along plastic bags to pick up trash on the post-dinner walk, or stopping by an isolated person’s house after dinner to drop off some pie and say “Happy Holidays.” When was the last time you went house to house caroling? So much fun. These giving events can be the most memorable part of the holiday.
- Enjoy! Breathe! Stop to smell the Pine needles! Be grateful for all that you have been given!
Monday, November 21, 2011
- Make it fun. Go to the spa, sign up for the cheapest service you can that gives you a guest pass to the fancy workout rooms and pools. I’ve had so much fun doing this! It’s now my favorite thing to do when I have to go to a trade show. You don’t even need to be registered at the hotel. And when you are done working out, that spa service is the ultimate in relaxation!
- Don’t hurry. Bring a book or magazine and put in a little lounging time while you are there. Be sure to bring a swimsuit!
- Use the machines. And now many gyms have TV’s or Radios you can plug into while exercising. Don’t forget your headset or just ask for one. Try out all the channels while you try out the elliptical, the treadmill, and the recumbent bike. Or better yet bring a book or that new e-reader. Time will fly!
- Try one new machine or workout toy every day. Don’t be shy, strike up a conversation with someone using something new to you. But don’t overdo anything new. You don’t want to make yourself sore when you are traveling.
- Take a class. Yoga is different everywhere you go.Or how about finally trying out a Zumba class? It’s addicting.
- Use travel wait time for stretching. Travel entails a lot of waiting; in line, for your bags, before a flight. Don’t hate it, stretch it! You can try simple yoga moves, or get on the floor and really stretch! You’ll feel great. If people are looking at you, it is only because they are jealous. Close your eyes to really enjoy your wait time. Travel in easy-moving Junonia ActiveLife Pants.
- The best exercise when travelling? Walking! Around the ship or through neighborhoods you’d never see otherwise, strap on those shoes and put on great walking gear from Junonia and really make your trip one you’ll remember!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A: People often ask me how I started Junonia. I had just finished a mid-career business masters program, and I gave myself three months living off savings to see if I could get a business going. It’s hard to remember a time before the Internet, but this was 1994, so I spent a lot of time in the business library looking at different industries, and putting together a business plan.
But what finally did it was the day I was at the YMCA sweating through an aerobics class, noticing the women of my size and more. I knew I was having a tough time finding workout clothing, and as I talked with people, so did they! I researched the market and decided there was a gap in between fitness and fashion for the plus size woman that needed filling, so I jumped in. We continue to meet this need today.
The first catalog was published in March of 1995. It was 8 pages. In the pre-Internet era we grew by renting and swapping names with other catalogs. We introduced our web site in 1999 and our customers have been finding us through online search ever since. Look for us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our very active email program, for all the best deals and the quickest notice of new items.
There are many more resources out there now for entrepreneurs. And there are so many new ideas for products and services that people need. If you have ever thought of starting your own business I say, go for it! It’s not always easy, but what is? Find a business you love and give it your all.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Skiing has completely changed my life. My husband and I moved from Pennsylvania to Vermont, so we could ski in the beautiful Green Mountains. I wrote two ski mysteries, DOUBLE BLACK and FADE TO WHITE [for more info, go to www.wendyclinch.com, both published by Minotaur. And in 2006, I started TheSkiDiva.com, which is now the leading online community for women who love to ski.
One of the things I like best about skiing is how it completely alters your perspective of winter. Instead of dreading the cold and snow, you actually look forward to it. I’m one of those crazy people who actually get excited about snow storms. If you don’t want to ski, there are other great outdoor activities, like snowshoeing, that make it easier to enjoy the season instead of just wishing it away.
If I was to give anyone one piece of ski advice, it’d be to have fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, why do it?
The second piece -- and this completely relates to the first -- is to take lessons. Lessons can give you the confidence and skills you need to make it safe and fun. They teach you skills to help you cope with all types of situations, including falling. With the newest equipment the biggest problem is no longer broken legs, but knee injuries. If you take a lesson, you’ll learn how to fall properly to minimize your chances of getting hurt.
Lessons are available any number of ways. There are private lessons, group lessons, even women’s clinics. I’m a big proponent of women’s clinics. These are a great way to learn at your own pace, without a lot of pressure. Plus you’ll meet a lot of other women who are interested in skiing. And you’ll make new friends.
As with any new sport, plan ahead, to build up your strength and endurance. Before you start skiing, get in shape by walking, bicycling, lifting weights, swimming, or other sports. Don’t just head out to the slopes and think you can handle a full day. Preparation will make it more fun.
Once you get out there, it’s a good idea to stop when you’re tired. That’s when the most accidents occur. Get off the slope and take breaks. Have a cup of coffee or cocoa, take your time. And never let anyone bully you to try something that’s beyond your ability. Not that you shouldn’t challenge yourself, but know your limits. Choose your ski partners carefully so you ski with people who enjoy the same level of difficulty, and want to ski at a similar pace. If you don’t want to do mogul runs, don’t ski with people who only want to ski moguls. It won’t be fun for either of you.
Now for equipment. A lot of companies produce women’s skis with features that are more suited to our anatomy. The skis are softer, so they’re easier to use. And the bindings are a little more forward since women have a lower center of gravity. But don’t be afraid of unisex skis. These are a bit stiffer, and can actually be better for larger-sized women. Even more important than skis are boots. An ill-fitting ski boot can entirely ruin your day. Women’s boots are made to accommodate our lower calve muscles and our narrower heels and insteps. You want to make sure your heel is secure, so it doesn’t lift up. Be sure to go to a qualified boot fitter at a good ski shop -- not a big box store. Your feet will thank you.
You also want to make sure your clothing is comfortable, water proof, and wind resistant -- like the ski jackets and pants you can find at Junonia. Dress in layers. That way if you are warm you can remove something. You want full freedom of movement, so don’t get anything too tight. Junonia has plenty of apparel that’s both fashionable and comfortable, so be sure to start there.
Remember to always, always, always wear a helmet. There’s been a lot of publicity about tragic accidents like the one that killed Natasha Richardson. Helmets are warm, lightweight and attractive. Don’t leave home without one.
Last but not least, join us at SkiDiva.com. It’s a great way to get advice about equipment and resorts, talk about anything and everything ski related, and connect with other women who ski.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011