Thoughts on quitting

Some of our past blog posts on quitting:

Christine H is an early quitter and she’s cool with that

Thinking about quitting: Life lessons from Kenny Rogers and Aristotle

Happy Quitters’ Day!

Contrary to popular opinion, quitting is for winners.

Do you have any thoughts about quitting?

Book Club · Book Reviews · fitness · music

To listen, read, and watch this weekend, #ListenReadWatch

To Listen

Equal, a Spotify playlist in honour of International Women’s Day



Here at the blog we’re reading and reviewing “You Just Need to Lose Weight” and 19 Other Myths About Fat People by Aubrey Gordon. Pick up a copy and join in. We’d love to know what you think. Some purchasing options are here.


Lori Campbell writes “Hey friends outside of the land commonly known as Canada – did you know you can now watch the first 3 episodes of Canada’s Ultimate Challenge for free on YouTube??

Check it out!”

We interviewed Lori about Canada’s Ultimate Challenge here.


fitness · injury · snow · winter

It’s snowing again!

Here’s Martha from a few months ago with advice we likely need again, at least those of us in North America, whether you’re in California or Ontario!

How to shovel safely and fitly

A car convered in snow with a heart traced on the window
blogging · fitness · top ten

Top Ten February 2023 Posts, #ICYMI

  1. Pain and the Human Playground (Sam)

2. I’m 53 and a half and I’m still menstruating: is this a good thing? (Cate)

3. Yoga poses I simply can’t do, and what I do instead (Catherine)

4. Keeping Fit While Healing from Hysterectomy (Guest Post) (Marjorie)

5. I walk 20K steps a day… and I’m getting rid of my Fitbit (Guest Post) (Michelle Lynne Goodfellow)

6. Exploring the world of YouTube trainers (Tracy)

7. I love lifting weights and getting strong again but none of my suit jackets fit (Sam)

8. 58. (Cate)

9. This month’s newness? Yoga! (Amanda Lynn)

10. Full Heart Fitness at 50: The FIFI bloggers interview Canada’s Ultimate Challenge athlete Lori Campbell (Sam)


A six month journey recovering from total knee replacement

I thought it would help me, and maybe help others going through this, or contemplating going through knee replacement surgery, to see what the six month journey after knee replacement surgery looks like. For me, it’s to remind me–as much as anything–how far I’ve come, but also to think about what’s next as I gear up for surgery on my right knee.

In the draft of this blog post I was referring to my new knee as 26 weeks old, but I have decided that new knees are like babies. At a certain point, you stop the weeks talk and move to to months

If you’re reading this and thinking about knee replacement surgery, pls know that your mileage may vary. I’ve gotten to know a group of people who’ve had this surgery and our recoveries all looked different. I had the advantage of going into surgery in pretty good shape. I did the Friends for Life bike rally, riding Toronto to Montreal, the week before knee surgery. The downside of the state I was in prior to knee surgery is that my right knee also needs replacing and it’s slowing down my progress.

These days I’m not needing the cane as much for walking. I keep leaving it places which is a pretty good clue that I don’t depend on it the way I did. I’m riding my bike on the trainer on Zwift. Today was an hour and 26 km.

Sam and Zwift

Here are some milestones along the way:

My surgery was supposed to be day surgery but my blood pressure had other ideas.

Day two I came home with a walker, lots of at home physio instructions, and all the drugs. Really there were enough drugs–not just pain meds– that it required another adult to keep track of all of them.

Day Four I switched to crutches, went to my first physio session in person. It’s lucky I like Estee, my physiotherapist. I’m still there twice a week, now in the evenings.

Day Five I made it upstairs to sleep in my own bed, rather than the fold out sofa on our main floor, and managed to have a shower! I felt human again.

A week after surgery, Sarah returned to working some of the time from her office, and I was getting around reasonably well on crutches. Still, the first two weeks really were a blur of pain meds, physio, icing, elevation and napping. I couldn’t really read or watch complicated television. Thankfully there was SheHulk!

I was only able to sleep a few hours at a stretch and kept the ice machine on my knee pretty much constantly.

Week Two, I got my staples out and had a follow up appointment with the surgeon. Still no driving (because pain meds) so Sarah had to take me. I was able to start taking tiny walks down the street each day and could manage basic household tasks such as unloading the dishwasher, sorting laundry, and making lunch. I got back on the bike (with a stepladder, lol) and started to work on range of motion. I couldn’t do a complete rotation of the pedals yet. I also managed to attend a friend’s wedding. I was likely the only guest there with her own ice supply. We didn’t stick around for dinner and dancing but it felt so good to be out in the world.

Sam on the trainer bike

Week Three I started small outings and we even made it to the farm in Prince Edward County. Still no hot tub for me but it was nice to have change of scenery for physio. I was no longer taking the serious pain medication except occasionally at night. I went to a Tafelmusik concert and saw a movie.

Week Four Finally, I could manage a complete pedal stroke on the bike, backwards but not forwards, but still it was progress. Throughout all this I’m doing physio exercises four times a day and still there’s lots of icing, and elevation, napping and TV. I moved on to binging Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, shows I never watched back in the day. I also started to drive again.

Week Five I discovered that I could pedal forwards on a recumbent bike at the gym, even if I couldn’t manage forwards on my trainer bike just yet.

Week Six I started aquafit and I returned to work. I had the option of staying off for 12 weeks but there’s only so much TV a person can watch. I started using the cane instead of crutches–leaving the all-important coffee-carrying hand free!

Week Seven I discovered that if I raised the seat on the trainer bike I could pedal forwards and I started riding a few minutes each day. For the first few times I didn’t even turn Zwift on. I just watched TV and tried not to tink about how far or how fast I was going.

Two months, I flew to the Dominican Republic for a short vacation in the sun. I did an underwater spin class! When we got back I started personal training again and started to focus on strength and balance as well as range of motion.

Three months, I started to see a massage therapist as well as a physiotherapist to help with range of motion and getting rid of the last of the swelling. Check out my fancy physio tape!

Fancy physio tape

Four months, annoyingly my right knee started to bug me as I did all the physio for the left knee that’s recovering from surgery. I was fitted for a right knee brace so hopefully the right knee won’t slow down my recovery from surgery too much.

Knee brace

Five months, I rode an actual bike again, outside, in Arizona and went on some desert hikes. Read about it here. Our longest ride was 25 km and I struggled a bit with the mechanics of riding–clipping and unclipping, and getting on and off the bike, but it felt so good to be riding again.

Sam on her road bike in Arizona

Six months, I’m back at hot yoga (yin) and lifting weights, as well as riding my bike on the trainer, going for dog walks, and doing physio and personal training two days a week each. I’m doing group rides in Zwift–The Thundering Turtles and Seattle Baby Steps and Ride On For Health –as well as rides with the slowest of the virtual pace partners. The thing I’m working on now is cadence.

At six months it isn’t over. It’s still an all on thing recovering from knee surgery. There is still a lot of physio. There’s still some knee pain (though frankly the right knee is worse than the left). Some days I hop up and forget about my knee altogether and other days it’s a struggle getting around. That’s the weirdest thing, how much it varies from day to day. I know movement helps and the days where I ride my bike and lift weights are the best. I think this would be very hard and extra challenging if you weren’t already an active person for whom physical activity is a large part of your day.

Today I’m seeing the surgeon about my right knee. Wish me luck!

Any questions? Send them my way!


Watch, listen, and read suggestions for a Sunday


“…the original, debut documentary by Caroline Treadway. LIGHT reveals the hidden world of eating disorders in professional rock climbing as the filmmaker follows two best friends on their harrowing journey in a courageous narrative that breaks the silence about the sport’s darkest secret. Angie Payne, Emily Harrington, Andrea Szekely and Kai Lightner share their struggles and insights in this powerful film about the quest for lightness and its dangerous legacy. This film was directed, written, edited and produced by women.”


21 Extra Motivating Songs for Chilly Morning Workouts

Motivation for chilly mornings playlist
Scopio, mountains


How climbing’s send-at-all costs culture almost ruined me by Beth Rodden

cycling · Rowing · running · yoga

What sports do you pair?

For Catherine, it’s cycling and kayaking. I’m also a fan of this combo.

The case for cycling and kayaking as companion sports

In general, I think a number of us on the blog are fans of water based sports. When I first started the fittest-by-fifty challenge, one of my goals was to take up something new and I went for rowing. In this older post I talked about the skills overlap between rowing and cycling.

Kim Solga is another fan of the rowing/cycling combo.

These days for me, during the summer months, there’s a lot of boating and biking–Snipe racing and road bike riding.

For many of the bloggers, I think it’s running and yoga that are their favourite pairing.

How about you? Of all the sports and physical activities that bring you joy, which is your favourite pairing? Let us know in the comments.

Yoga in the park, Scopio
fitness · rest · sleep

Sam and a regular sleep schedule

Good sleep means more than getting enough hours. A consistent sleep schedule matters, too. I’m not getting that these days.

Why not? Well all sorts of reasons not really in my control.

Now my right knee often wakes me up during the night with knee pain. We’ve got one family member who often works well into the night. Another family member whose shift work means he’s often up at 5 am. My preferred sleeping hours are 10-6 but between knee pain, dogs, people, and work schedules that’s just happening. So while I’m getting enough sleep in any given week it’s not happening in regular amounts at regular times.

See this article on the connection between sleep and health

“It’s a familiar question from your health-care provider: Are you getting enough sleep? Studies have shown that adequate sleep, between seven and nine hours for adults, can improve cognition, mood and immune functioning. But new research reveals that it’s not just hours of sleep that count toward mental health benefits. It’s whether that sleep occurs on a regular or irregular schedule. An NPJ Digital Medicine study published in February looked at the sleep habits of more than 2,000 first-year medical residents. The researchers found that variability in sleep habits significantly affected their mood and depression — no matter how many total hours they slept.”

Here’s what my sleep often looks like, from my Garmin watch data:

Tracking sleep

So that’s roughly 7.5 hours of sleep a night on average. Which should be okay in terms of total sleep. But it’s not. Because I’m not consistently sleeping the same hours.

A recent story in the New York Times talked about the heart health risks of inconsistent sleep.

“New research affirms what doctors have long advised: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day for big health benefits.”

See How a Consistent Sleep Schedule Might Protect Your Heart

Here’s more:

“Researchers examined a week’s worth of sleep data from 2,000 adults over 45 and found that those who slept varying amounts each night and went to bed at different times were more likely to have hardened arteries than those with more regular sleep patterns.

People whose overall sleep amounts varied by two or more hours from night to night throughout the week — getting five hours of sleep on Tuesday, say, and then eight hours on Wednesday — were particularly likely to have high levels of calcified fatty plaque built up in their arteries, compared with those who slept the same number of hours each night.”

I’m always amazed at people who can regularly get by on 6 hours of sleep or less. That’s so not me. My temperament is pretty even and I’m not very easily upset but I’ve realized that’s all dependent on getting enough sleep, in a consistent and regular way. Once I’m also battling the not-enough-daylight and absence of sun, getting enough sleep is critical.

So I’m going to try regularly going to sleep at 930 and getting up at 530.

Wish me luck!


Three Things on a Thursday: Watch, Read, and Listen

Thing 1, a thing to watch.

To Watch: You Go Girl!

In the New Yorker: A Black Woman’s Spiritual Journey Up a Mountain, in “You Go Girl!”

In Shariffa Ali’s short film, a comedian grapples with her fears and finds healing and solidarity in the outdoors.

Here’s the trailer but the New Yorker link has the full short film.

Thing 2, a thing to read

To Read: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Gym Class by Greta Christina

“I hated gym class. Like so many other nerdy, awkward kids, I despised it. I was bad at it; I was scared of it; it was a place of exclusion and shame.

“And then almost overnight, I started liking gym. I didn’t just stop hating it — I actually enjoyed it. I looked forward to it. I had fun with it. And I was good at it. I vividly remember my nerdy math-teacher father jokingly scolding me about my report card one quarter, scowling and asking with mock disapproval how a daughter of his could have gotten an A in gym.

“What happened?”

Thing 3, a thing to listen to

To Listen: Self Magazine’s Keep it Hot Playlist

31 Scorching Hot Workout Songs That’ll Have You Feeling Yourself


I love lifting weights and getting strong again but none of my suit jackets fit

It’s a long standing complaint of mine, finding women’s clothes to fit broad shoulders and muscular arms.

I know that the fitness industry spends a lot of time trying to reassure women that you can get strong and lean and toned (whatever the hell “toned” means) without getting bulky. Yeah, yeah. And while I’m sure that is true for lots of women, it’s never been true for me. When I start doing sprinting drills on the bike, my quads grow. When I start lifting heavy weights in the gym, ditto my arms and shoulders.

There was a blog post that I shared to our Facebook page some years ago (and now can’t find of course) by a personal trainer who always threw on a jacket when meeting with traditionally feminine would-be clients because she’d learned that some women didn’t select her as a trainer because they didn’t want to end up looking like her. But I don’t mind that I have that kind of build. If I were a man, I’d be “brawny” or “burly” or maybe even “husky.” But we don’t have words like that for women. See Where are the muscular, larger women’s bodies? Really what I want though are just clothes that fit.

During the pandemic years I’ve mostly been working out at home and then with knee surgery I’ve been focusing on rehab. The only upside of all the home exercise is that without the big weights at the gym my arms finally fit easily in my suit jackets. Ironically the was the one time I wasn’t wearing them because #wfh and zoom.

All that is finally letting up. I’m back in the gym. I’m bench pressing again once in a while. I’m doing lat pull downs and shoulder presses. I’m very happy to be deadlifting again. I wrote here about loving the landmine exercises. And once again my suit jackets are feeling tight.

SheHulk is okay wearing tank tops but she struggles when she’s got to go from her regular human body to her super hero form. It’s an an issue both on the show for the character and for the people making the show. There’s even a character, Luke Jacobson, who designs clothes for super heroes.

She Hulk

See How to dress for work if you’re a She-Hulk sometimes.

“Buying ready-to-wear clothes is already a bit of a challenge, and the idea that you could buy clothes that would fit the waist, shoulders, and legs of a woman who’s both 5 feet, 4 inches (the height the internet says Maslany is) and 6 feet, 7 inches (She-Hulk’s in-show height, per the creators) tall depending on her mood seems tough to imagine. But She-Hulk director Kat Coiro says while they were certainly aided by some good old-fashioned Marvel CGI, they worked to make sure all of her fashion choices actually had some foundation in reality.

“We absolutely discussed and tested out methods of how you would do that in real life,” Coiro tells Polygon. “6-foot-7 is large, but it’s still very much human scale. And we had a woman on set with us, an actress named Malia [Arrayah] who is our double, and she is 6-foot-7. And what was surprising is that things would actually fit her better than you would think.”

Here Jen is in her super hero suit made by Luke Jacobson.

Probably there’s a fair bit of spandex involved.

And while I’m no She-Hulk I am going to start to look for some formal work clothes that have stretch built in. My sense is that the pandemic and the rise of athleisure wear have made this more possible. Wish me luck shopping once my year of no buying clothes comes to an end in July.