blog · blogging

Top ten posts in June, #icymi

Pretty pink blossoms on a tree.

The most read post this month was the same as the most read post last month: COVID-19 and the Gym: Building Engineers Weigh In (Guest Post) Thanks Sarah and Cara for laying it out so clearly.

In second spot is Cate’s much loved still menstruating post.

Catherine asks, When is it okay to say “good job” to a woman while she’s in the middle of physical activity. That’s the third most read post of the month.

Fourth is Marjorie’s post Systemic racism looks like the death of George Floyd, denying the science of masks, and our perspectives on dietary privilege.

Fifth is another post by Marjorie, Women are ‘Someone,’ Too.

Catherine’s post Exercising while black: a few women’s stories was the sixth most read post in June.

The seventh most read post was Christine’s post on tricking yourself into getting started.

Everyone is looking for at home workouts. This barely pre-pandemic post on the NYT 6 minute workout is often in our top 10 during these pandemic months. It’s appreciated, Catherine! I think you knew something was coming. This month it was number 8.

Martha’s post on weight stigma and COVID-19 was the ninth most read post in June. It’s a concern here at the blog. Tracy also wrote about weight stigma and fat shaming jokes in the context of 2019.

And the tenth most read post in June was Mary’s guest post on her calm and humorous take on the big race that wasn’t. Love your attitude Mary!

June was a strange month. Bad enough that it’s been memed. Here’s hoping for a better July.

aging · blogging

Silver Sam

Tracy and I often joke about all the things we have in common. We’re both immigrants to Canada who came here with our parents when we were young. We’re very close to the same age. We both have American PhDs. We wrote disserations in ethics. We started our careers in the Philosophy Department at Western in the early 90s. And we’ve had a multi-decade friendship and conversation about body image and physical fitness in our lives and the lives of women more generally. Then there’s the “fittest by fifty challenge,” this blog, and our book.

“[Fit at Mid-Life] reinforces the message that fitness can and should be for everyone, no matter their age, size, gender, or ability.” ––SELF

What if you could be fitter now than you were in your twenties? And what if you could achieve it while feeling more comfortable and confident in your body? 

Here’s what we looked like when our book was published. Promotional photos are from the Amazon site. Thanks Ruth! (Ruthless Images)

Now we’re aging and going grey together. Tracy first! See Tracy enters the grey zone. Tracy’s move to grey/silver was deliberate and planned and involved hair salons. Mine was accidental and a result of COVID-19.

I love Tracy’s silver hair and think it looks beautiful. I confess that silver envy is part of my motivation but I am not sure mine will look as good.

Luckily Sarah owns clippers and has been tidying up my undercut as it grows. Here’s my latest bikes and boats haircut. Gradually there’s less and less blonde and more and more of my hair’s natural colour.

But the thing is I never was someone who coloured her hair to cover grey. Here’s 80s me with a similar haircut and colour scheme. In wilder times it was also pink and purple. I’ve also never coloured the undercut bits and hiding my age was never part of my intention. I’ve always thought of hair colour as fun. I like tattoos rather than jewelry because they can’t get lost. And hair colour rather than make up because you don’t have to put it on and take it off each day.

And yet.

Here am in, in my 50s, in an administrative role as an academic, frequently sitting around tables with men in suits and women in dresses, almost of the women my age with blonde streaked hair. It’s ubiquitous.

I know why we do it. It’s easy. Highlights aren’t that expensive. The blonde is easier on your complexion. It’s closer to the lighter colour your hair is naturally turning. It’s forgiving in terms of growing in. It’s flattering.

But what if it no longer feels fun? It looks (except for my secret graying undercut) mainstream. What if it starts to feel mandatory?

Blondness is also complicated.

Apparently just 2 percent of adult white women in North America are blonde naturally. You wouldn’t guess that looking around campus or at the mall.

I hadn’t thought of blondness as connected to normative identities and whiteness until I read this article, The Pursuit of Blondness.

“Blondness, then, exists as a complicated form of self-expression. It can signal youth, beauty, privilege, and conformity. But it can also represent rebellion, independence, and the demand to be looked at and respected. It’s a choice that’s both distinctly personal and deeply intertwined with what society has taught people to value. Rankine and Lucas have a term for that: complicit freedom.

Anyway, I’m growing it out because of #PandemicHair. Maybe I’ll keep it its natural colour. Maybe I’ll revert to blonde. It’s easy to do. It’s shockingly more dark than I remembered!

Cheddar, by the way, is a completely natural blonde.

Sam and her yoga dog

What are you doing with your hair colour during the pandemic? Any post pandemic hair colour plans?

blog · blogging

Top Ten Posts in May, #ICYMI

  1. COVID-19 and the Gym: Building Engineers Weigh In (Guest Post)

“As mechanical engineers who consult on heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, we’ve been closely following the evolving body of knowledge about how the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus (the virus which causes COVID-19) spreads through the air. We thought some folks might be interested to know some of what we’ve learned, and how that’s affecting our thoughts on returning to the gym.”

Cara and Sarah are guest bloggers, fit feminists, and mechanical engineers thinking about when it’s safe to go back to the gym. This was the most read post of the month by a long shot.

2. What really is okay for exercising outside?

Cate interviews Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease specialist and Chief of Staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, and a frequent voice on CBC and Global TV to make sense of some of the tangled messaging about COVID-19 and outdoor exercise.

3. I’m 53 and a half and I’m still menstruating: is this a good thing?

Cate is also still menstruating and this post about that continues to be in the top 10 every month!

4. When will you feel okay about going back to the gym?

Cate puts on her social scientist hat and listens to the bloggers talk about going back to the gym.

“In most of Canada, gyms aren’t open yet, but clearly, they have their feet in the blocks waiting for the starter pistol. It’s understandable — fitness studios depend on class and member revenue to survive, and most have hefty investments in space and equipment. We had an animated conversation about this among the bloggers about our own comfort, and realized that most gym managers/ owners are not likely to err on the side of caution — they want to open, and as soon as they are permitted, they will be looking to their members to tell them what will work for them. So what DO we feel safe doing? I captured the key themes from a few of our bloggers.”

5. It’s Okay, You Weren’t Built for This

Susan reminds us that it’s okay not to be okay with all of this.

“You weren’t built for this and you don’t have to say it’s okay, or good enough, or the same, or tolerable. Day after day, your nervous system seeks and searches and wonders when it can dare to be soothed, when it is allowed to declare a need to just be with, without being accused of. . .something. . .bad. It doesn’t understand and that’s okay, you weren’t built for this.”

6. Women can wear dresses and bike to work. Lots of us do. Get over it!

Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna biked to work in a dress, posted a pic on Twitter for Bike to Work Day, lots of people hated it, but feminists and cyclists of Twitter came to the rescue. Sam chimed in and also blogged about it.

7. #justiceforahmaud

Cate is on a roll this month. Sadly it’s still so very timely.

“I’m a white woman, and I’m a feminist. This story breaks my heart, and it makes me so angry. I’m an ally, and #justiceforahmaud has to be my fight too.

Ahmaud was murdered on 2 – 23 – 30. He was supposed to turn 26 today. Run 2.23 miles today with thousands of others, in solidarity.”

8. Still menstruating at 55 1/4 — and still learning new things!

Cate updated her still menstruating at 53 1/2 post to let us know it’s still going on at 55 1/4.

9. Wrong! Sam says that there aren’t just two types of people in quarantine

Memes are sometimes funny but they can also flatten our experiences. Sam says that she’s both the person baking and eating desserts in quarantine and the person exercising lots.

10. Another older post was read lots this month. Here’s Catherine on sleep as a feminist issue.

In case you missed it
blog · blogging · fitness · top ten

Top ten posts in April, #ICYMI

Okay, it’s no shock, but almost all of the top posts for April 2020 are pandemic related. If you’re wanting to escape covid-19 related material, look away.

Look away gif

I like it when Tracy comes back to the blog. We miss her voice around here. Her post, The “covid 19” isn’t funny, it’s fat shaming and fat phobic, was the most read post by a long shot. More than 1200 people read her post.

One exception to the “all Covid-19 all the time” theme in our top ten list is of course Cate’s post on still menstruating at 53 and 1/2. That was the second most read post of the month!

Martha’s post on mental health and self care was our third most read post of the month.

Our fourth most read post was Marjorie Rose asking if Covid-19 could be the end of Keto and diet extremism.

Bread! Photo by Andrew Wong on Unsplash

We’re full of questions around here and sometimes there just aren’t clear answers. Catherine’s post asking if Covid-19 cared what you weigh was our fifth most read post.

The sixth most read blog post was by Nicole who blogged about her experiences with running in these strange times and feeling like a devious runner.

A woman running, with blurry orange shoes. Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash.

Catherine’s older post on the 6 minute workout was number 7. Home workouts are popular right now!

We’re all indoor cats now, says Cate. Her part 1 of that post was number 8.

A cat looking at a dripping tap. Photo by Kazuky Akayashi on Unsplash

We’re also all (fake) epidemiologists now too, says Cate. That post was number 9.

I love it when guest posts get a lot of reads. Thanks Mary for sharing your story What does retirement, Covid19, an orange cast and a cancelled race, have in common?  with our readers. That post was the 10th most read post of April 2020.

blog · blogging · fitness · top ten

Top Ten Posts in March, #ICYMI

I am having a hard time believing that some of these posts were written just a month ago. March has felt years long.

The most read post in March wasn’t even about Covid-19! Imagine that. It was Catherine’s post about early mornings.

The persistent demands of early morning self-care

Sunrise and mountains, Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash.

But number two is when the Covid-19 posts begin, with Cate wondering about a feminist response to the pandemic. (Was it even a pandemic then? I don’t remember. It’s all a blur.) Is there a feminist response to Covid19?

The third most read post of the month was about stress eating in the time of Covid-19. Thanks to guest blogger Megan Dean for Stress eating in the time of Covid-19.

Prioritizing your mental fitness was the fourth most read post of the month. Thanks Martha for that important reminder.

Cate had more excellent advice, this time about working from home, something she’s a pro at. See I’ve worked at home for 25 years: my (unorthodox) insights. That was the fifth most read post of the month. I can say I’ve reread it a few times!

And sixth, Cate’s everlasting still menstruating post!

Seventh was Catherine’s very funny rant about bad exercise advice from Livestrong.

Catherine’s more serious post about not changing everything was our eighth most read post in March.

Everything is changing, against blurry white and dark green background.
Everything is changing.


5 great things about Zoom online yoga class
was the 9th most read post of the month. Thanks Catherine!


8 Lessons for Living with Uncertainty
by Marjorie Rose was the post that taught me the most this month. Thanks! It was the 10th most read post this month.




blogging · fitness

Top ten posts in February, #icymi

1. Women’s bodies, racism, football, and being a babe after 50

Sam’s post on J.Lo and Shakira and the wonder that was their halftime show. Also some stern words about all the criticism they received and continue to receive for it.

2. Turquoise, berry, and lime, oh my

Guest blogger Chloe Wall on the limited range of non-pink colours for women’s athletic wear.

3. Harley Quinn’s Fantabulously Emancipating Egg Sandwich

Quill Kukla guest blogs about their thoughts about women, agency, and eating delicious food in the movie “Birds of Prey.”

4. US report predicts 50% obesity rate by 2030: some takeaways

Catherine gives us her analysis of the report that’s in the news and gives her views about what the real take aways ought to be.

5. Walking 10,000 steps a day won’t help you lose weight, but who would have thought that it would?

A study showed that walking lots won’t help first year university students lose weight. Walking lots did help them with stress and emotional well-being. Guess which thing got reported about? Sam was not happy but also not surprised.

6. “Motion is lotion”: why you should move when you’re sore

Cate on why moving is better when you’re hurt or injured.

7. I’m 53 and a half and I’m still menstruating: is this a good thing?

Cate’s 2018 post keeps on trucking on.

8. Burpees are bad for you? Wait? What?

Fitness trends change. Sam reports that burpees, once hot, are now not.

9. Nevertheless, she deadlifted 200lb

Cate’s 55th birthday reflections.

10. Bike seats, speed, and sexual depravity

Sam’s 2013 (!) post made it into the top ten by attracting a bunch of guys from a sub-reddit who were discussing sexual satisfaction and women who spend too much (?) time riding horses. (Their comments here prompted us deciding to turn off comments on old posts.)

Fire in a heart
aging · blog · blogging · fitness

J. Lo and Shakira: Sam reaches out to some new readers

I blogged about it here first, Women’s bodies and football and racism and being a babe at 50.

And then someone suggested I write about it for The Conversation. Thanks Sandy!

What’s The Conversation? Their tagline is, Academic rigour, journalistic flair. Which I like. I started as a journalist and then went back to school and completed a PhD.

Here’s what they say about themselves: “The Conversation Canada launched in June 2017. The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public. Our team of professional editors work with experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public. Access to independent, high-quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to allow for better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversations.”

Here’s what I wrote for The Conversation, written in English and they translated it into French:

J.Lo’s body: Distressing or inspiring for mid-life women?

Oh J.Lo ! Source d’inspiration ou de détresse pour les femmes ?

Since then it’s been read more than 40k times. The English post has been shared more than 2k times on Facebook and lots on Twitter too.

I love the traction it’s gotten on Twitter! In the piece I talk about women athletes whose careers have taken off in midlife.

“Kristin Armstrong, for example, only started racing at the age of 27 and won Olympic gold medals at 43. She is the most decorated American female cyclist of all time and the best time trial in the history of the sport. ( She won three Olympic gold medals, six national championships in the United States and was a two-time world champion .)”

She likes being in the same article with J. Lo and Shakira. Turns out Selene Yaeger was a late starter in endurance sports.

I love our blog community and our Facebook page and our growing group of Twitter friends, but sometimes it’s nice to reach out and meet some new people and connect with them about feminist fitness themes. Thanks to The Conversation!

blog · blogging · top ten

Top posts in January, #icymi

  1. I watched Brittany Runs a marathon, regretted it, wrote about it, and then Yoni Feedhoff shared it. Nearly 3000 views later, it’s the most read post of January.

2. Cate is still menstruating.

3. I asked if you could watch The Biggest Loser ironically. My answer is no. Former Biggest Loser contestant Kai Hibbard shared that post and it’s number 3.

4. Our guest Mary Case asks if this is what retirement is like?

5. Climber and guest Lynette Reid goes on the record as opposed to sexist route names.

“When you take up rock climbing, you don’t have that “luxury.” You have entered a subculture where adolescent male sexual humour has had free play. By convention, the “first ascensionist” of a climbing route gets to name the route, and they name it for whatever is on their mind. Sometimes the results are delightful and witty. Names emerge from days of hanging out at the cliff, working hard, shooting the breeze with friends. There’s a rich kind of free association and play that works its alchemy.”

6. Guest blogger and speedy runner Alison Conway blogs about her super Kelowna running community.

7. Cate is taking a breather from bike travel.

8. Catherine has things to say about the New York Times 7 Day Sugar Challenge.

9. Ella Connor, a new guest, writes in favour of small goals.

10. An older post from a guest, On Exercising Under Neoliberalism, by Adriel Trott.

Bonus!

11. What do you do if you hate exercise? The fit feminists take that question on here.

12. Guest Laura MacDonald worries about falling flat on her second day of the new year.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
blog · blogging · fitness

Our Top Ten Posts of 2019, #ICYMI

Our most read post of 2019, #1, was Cate’s 2018 post on being 53 1/2 and still menstruating. That post, on what may seem like an oddball topic for a fitness blog, hit a nerve. From the many comments and reposts we learned that Cate is certainly not alone. It’s on our top ten list pretty much every month. (5415)

Our second most read post is a much older one. It’s from 2013 when I blogged about sports reporting, upskirts, and the objectification of women athletes. That post also has enduring popularity thanks, in part, to search engines and the existence of “upskirts” and “crotch shots” in the title. (4593)

One of our newest bloggers wrote the third most read post of the year. Marjorie wrote Doin’ My Part to Keep the Gym a Safe Space for Men  back in March 2019 before she’d even joined the regular team of bloggers here at Fit is a Feminist Issue. (3277)

In May, in light of the ongoing Caster Semenya controversy, Martha blogged about sex tests. That was our fourth most read post of the year. (2382)

In 2014 I blogged about CrossFit and women’s bodies. People read that post a lot, and to be honest, I suppose it’s got some appeal because of the images. It’s often on our top ten list and this year it’s number five. (2169)

Who would think vibrators would make for good prizes in women’s sports? Someone did and Catherine blogged about it in May of 2019. That post was our sixth most read post of 2019. (1831)

Eyelash extensions made Tracy feel ridiculous when she tried them and blogged about it 2017. That post was our seventh most read post. Considering eyelash extensions? Go read her post first. (1737)

In 2013 I was feeling exercised about finding clothes to fit athletic women’s bodies. That post was our eighth most popular post. The issue still bugs me. I’m still struggling to find clothes. I might blog about it again. (1565)

Also, in 2013 Tracy wrote that “you’ve lost weight, you look great” isn’t a compliment. That post was our ninth most read post of 2019. (1534)

Another 2013 post was our tenth most read post of the year. That’s Tracy’s blog post on why fitness models aren’t necessarily models of health. These old posts are definite blog classics. (1403)

Sparklers! Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

blog · blogging · fitness

Top ten posts in December, #icymi

My post about that Peloton ad was our #1 post of the month. I was puzzled by all the people who thought the wife was already fit because she was thin.

A cartoon woman with green hair spinning away.

Our second most read of the month was my post about training like a world class endurance athlete, building a base, and making the time to go slow.

A husky riding on a tortoise

Marjorie wrote about pseudoscience and the need for critical thinking in the area of nutrition and exercise science. That post was #3.

Science!

Nicole urges us when it comes to food choices just say yes, please or no, thank you. ” I urge us all to try to break free from “I can’t because I’ve been bad, naughty, I fell off the wagon, etc.”. We all have different reasons for choosing to eat what we do, day in and day out. I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of different food plans. But if you are presented with food (cookies, chocolates, etc.) that you choose not to eat, simply say “No Thank You”. The location of the opportunity for snacking does not matter – it can be at work, your friend’s house or your parent’s place. ” That post was #4.

A dog nodding with the word “YES.”

In the 5th most read post of December Nat puts out her wish for high performance formal dance . wear. ” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, why can’t we dance the night away at weddings & other formal gatherings without drowning in our sweat? Whether you prefer a snappy suit or a darling dress no one feels great in their getup after even a short stint of enthusiastic dancing. “

A young girl in a blue dress with sunglasses bopping away.

An older post that I reblogged in light of the Peloton ad controversy was our 6th most read post of December. See How equating being fat with being out of shape hurts thin people too.

A chubby hamster lifting weights.

Cate’s classic still menstruating post is #7.

Menopause!

If you cannot go big, go small by Susan is #8.

A regular sized male cyclist riding a very small bike. We love the clip shoes.

Best of the worst gifts for the holidays, by Catherine, is #9.

An elevator door opening and closing,with a woman holding lots of parcels.

#10 was my post on concussions, Hit. Stop. Sit.

Bubble soccer!