blogging

On Lifting, Mental Health and Feeling Weird : Marjorie Celebrates 50 posts with FIFI

(Feature photo credit, Luca Onniboni, via Unsplash.)

In the last few years, I have had the pleasure of participating in this blogging community and this is my 50th post!  Before joining, I spent about 5 years writing for an audience of one.  I have written a cookbook and a memoir, totalling perhaps 600 pages, both of which are 75% crap and will never see the light of day.  However, all those hours of writing for myself helped me get up the gumption to try my hand at a public audience, and I am very grateful for Tracy and Sam providing the opportunity for me to contribute here.  And sometimes, I even write something worth reading.

I am especially proud of representing the female strength-training community.  As a queer woman, building strength and muscle feels like an authentic form of gender and personal expression, and I love being able to give voice to those experiences.  My first post on the matter, Doin’ My Part to Keep the Gym a Safe Space for Men, has been one of my most-read posts to date, and no wonder.  Unfortunately, issues of inclusivity and gendering gym spaces are still present and apparent, even in fitness podcasting for strength athletes, who I call out in Women are “Someone,” Too.  When I wrote Women, Are You Ready to be Weird?, I also addressed pressures we can receive from other women when our fitness goals start pushing against gender norms.  I wrote This is My Why hoping to inspire more women to explore what the pursuit of strength can give them.  

When I’m not writing about lifting, I am grateful to have a space to address mental health and to increase awareness of the cross-sections between mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.  I have chosen to be open about my experiences of trauma, beginning with addressing how my hysterectomy increased symptoms of PTSD, when I wrote Sex and Trauma After Hysterectomy.  (My post on Keeping Fit While Healing from Hysterectomy still gets read by hundreds of people each month, suggesting we are all still seeking reliable resources on this issue.)  Since then, I have also tried to increase awareness of mental health challenges that can be exacerbated by the pandemic in No, “Everyone” Should Not Wear a Mask and to give perspective on these times when I shared 8 Lessons for Living With Uncertainty from a Perennially Vulnerable Adult.  Most recently, I offered up solutions to the challenge of getting started when I wrote about what works for me in Working Out When You’re Experiencing Depression.  It is my hope that sharing these more intimate experiences serves to destigmatize and normalize conversations about mental health, while giving voice for folks experiencing similar challenges and providing a window into those challenges for folks who are not.

Finally, I love having a place to vent my spleen when outrage strikes.  My favorite rant to date is Trigger Warning: Pseudoscience, when I had reached my limit for conspiracy theories and false information running rampant in the United States.  Perhaps less a rant and more an exercise in wishful thinking, I was taken by a similar muse when I wrote Could COVID-19 be the End of Keto?  And I wrote My Cat is Fat. So What?! after yet another veterinarian suggested putting my big kitty on a diet.

I see the work I do here at FIFI as an extension of my work as an educator and activist.  It is my hope that my readers find what I have to say informative, thought-provoking and inspiring.  I’m ok with not being everyone’s cup of tea.  I am opinionated and accept that voicing opinions means making some people uncomfortable sometimes.  I don’t like how internet conversations tend to lack nuance and promote us vs. them thinking, and I hope that I don’t contribute to those weaknesses of the medium.

Thank you for being a reader, for sharing your thoughts and support as I’ve written these last few years here at FIFI.  I look forward to sharing this work with you for the next 50 posts and beyond!

Photo description: My favorite blog image I’ve used to date–four people posed together in tight white pants, bright shirts, and inexplicably with colored cellophane over their heads. Photo credit: Jimmy Fermin, via Unsplash.

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher.  She can be found clacking away at her laptop, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon.

blog · blogging · fitness

Top Ten Posts in February 2021, #ICYMI

  1. Catherine hopes that The Biggest Loser won’t be renewed.

It’s over

2. At 53 1/2 Cate was still menstruating and her post about it is always on our top ten list.

3. Nike designs easy to put on running shoes, the internet makes ableist comments about it, and Sam blogged about the dust up.

4. Sam also blogged about Under Armour’s new inclusive ad.

5. If you’re looking for a good beginners’ race on Zwift, Sam has advice.

Penny Farthing bike race

6. Love it when a guest post makes the top 10 list. Michele wrote about Hit Play, Not Pause, a podcast about active living and menopause.

7. Nicole is shocked at her scale’s idea of her metabolic age.

8. Crotch shots, upskirts and sports reporting. An older post of Sam’s with all the right words for the search engines. But remember they have to click on a blog post with the word “feminist” in the title before we hear about it. So there’s that.

9. Sam’s Lent isn’t a 40 day diet challenge post is always a hit at this time of year.

10. Cate wrote about catching lotuses with her vagina and recently reblogged that post and here it is.

blog · blogging · feminism · fitness

Why we can’t promise a feminist space will be a safe space (#reblog #bloglove)

The blog has been going for over eight years now and on Sam’s prompt, we are reblogging some favourite posts. I don’t have one favourite post among the more than 700 of mine that I have to choose from. But I chose to reblog this one because even though it’s a bit “meta,” and not about fitness, it’s a meaningful (to me) reflection on what we are trying to do here and the limits of what we can control. It was also a real turning point for me because it required an awareness and admission of my own bad behaviour, calling myself out for having conducted myself in a way that was decidedly NOT conducive to “what we are trying to achieve.”
Thanks for your continued support of the blog!
Tracy

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

Image description: Colourful drawing of five women in silhouette, suggestive of diverse ethnicities/races. Image description: Colourful drawing of five women in silhouette, suggestive of diverse ethnicities/races.

We here at Fit Is a Feminist Issue like to talk about our “big tent feminism” and how we try to make space for everyone. That’s a lofty goal, I know. One of my favourite questions in feminism is “is an inclusive feminism possible?” I use it as a thematic frame for most of my teaching in feminist philosophy and women’s studies, as a way of pushing people in my classes to think about inclusivity and intersectionality not just as theoretical ideas, but in their actual material practices.

It’s hard. We struggle. People get defensive. There are misunderstandings. Hurt feelings. Anger. Difficult conversations. People are called on their privilege and need to look at that. People are afraid to speak for fear of offending, excluding, saying the wrong thing on a multitude of other levels, sounding closed…

View original post 1,338 more words

blog · blogging · fitness

Top ten posts in January 2021

  1. I’m 53 and a half and I’m still menstruating: is this a good thing? (Cate)
  2. On Not Erasing Blackness in gymnastics (and everywhere else) (Cate)

3. Kicking off 221 workouts in 2021 with 30 days of Yoga with Adriene. Join us! (Sam)

4. “Your bad habits can kill you,” Lebowitz says, “but your good habits won’t save you.” (Nicole)

5. The benefits of exercise are many, but long term weight loss isn’t (necessarily) one of them (Sam)

6. Crotch shots, upskirts, sports reporting, and the objectification of female athletes’ bodies (Sam)

7. Cate asks, Why do movement if we don’t “enjoy” it? (Cate)

8. Coming back to fitness (Guest post–Shannon)

9. Nat’s 2021 Stop Doing List (Nat)

10. Looking for a good group ride on Zwift? Here’s some places to start (Sam)

Chicks who ride bikes

blog · blogging · fitness

Blogging through the years, in numbers

We’ve been here on WordPress for 8 years and a bit. In that time we’ve had 4598 posts! And 2,747,658 views of posts. Our busiest day ever on the blog was July 24, 2014.

21,032 people follow us on WordPress. We just celebrated 21k followers last week which is what started me down this rabbithole of numbers.

Also, 16,026 people follow us on Facebook. We’re also on Instagram with just 1336 followers and Twitter with 1745 followers. Follow us if that’s your thing.

But it’s not all about followers. There are other numbers too. From followers I started tracking what people liked and shared this list of our most liked blog posts of all time.

In 2012 our posts averaged 580 words but in the 2013 they’d grown to 690 words on average. Post length seems pretty consistent through the years though. Last year, in 2020, it was 681 words on average.

Weirdly, post likes have varied quite a bit. Posts got an average of 2.4 likes in 2012. In 2014 they got an avereage of 21 likes, and last year in 2020, 13.3 likes.

Comments also vary through the years. We hit a high in 2013, 9.1 comments per post on average and just 2.9 in 2020.

Where are all the people from? By and far, most of the blog’s readers through the years are in the United States (1.3 million), next is Canada (584k) and then the UK (225k), Australia (120k), Germany (41k), India (35k), New Zealand (22k), France (21k), Netherlands (18k), Sweden (17k) and Ireland (16k).

After that it’s Phillipines, South Africa, Finland, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, Mexico….and lots more.

Oh, and the blog is busiest, in terms of views, either Monday morning at 9 am or Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm.

Just a couple of more sets of numbers.

Our total word count in 2013 was 293,809

And in 2020, with a lot more bloggets, it had grown to 448,250

Finally, let’s look at the number of posts through the years.

In 2013, 426 posts.

2015, 587

2018, 616

2020, 658

Moving beyond numbers, I also sometimes track search terms that bring people to the blog. This week’s include ‘workout feminist beginner’ and ‘how does renpho calculate metabolic age’ and ‘fit feminist hiit’ and ‘biggest loser new season 2021’ and ‘is it normal to have a period at 53’ and ‘you are not your biological destiny women.’

All the statistics and data aside, we love your engagement. Bloggers at Fit is a Feminist Issue like your comments and your feedback. You might even consider writing a guest post. Drop us a line some time soon!

Scrolling numbers of likes
advice · blogging · fitness

What will you START/STOP/CONTINUE in 2021? Part 2

Bettina

Stop: like Susan, I don’t really have anything I want to stop

Start: hopefully baby swimming classes with the little person… I just need the pools to re-open.

Continue: doing something physical almost every day even once I return to work in February. It’s going to be tricky because I’ll be busy and tired. Let’s see how it goes, I also don’t want it to become One More Thing I Have To Do (there are plenty of those already).

Bettina running down a city street

Bettina started blogging at Fit is a Feminist Issue in 2018. One of her first posts was Competitive Streak.

Mina

START. A new writing project, even if it’s picking back up an old one I abandoned for a while. And I have to add, that I thought of this answer yesterday and woke up this am thinking of how I wanted to revise my approach to a long-standing, never finished, project. As if just setting this intention in my mind, manifested a creative idea! Now to start. For real.

STOP. The negative self talk that can be like a ball and chain, preventing me from moving forward. Okay, if I’m honest, this is really just a “reduce”.

CONTINUE. The COVID habit my partner and I have developed of taking walks end of day or in the evening. It’s such a super treat to amble, something I’ve never been good at, because I’m either “working out” or “on my way somewhere”.

Mina – FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE
Mina and her Montreal rental bike

Mina joined us in 2018. Her first post was Riding over rocks and an appeal.

Martha

START incorporating a ten minute activity three times a day.


STOP allowing distractions to derail my work schedule.


CONTINUE my mindfulness practice at the end of every day.

Martha has been blogging here since 2015 and her first post was Getting my fit on my way.

Cate

START: going outside every single day for at least a 30 minute walk (I find myself doing way too much inside time during lockdown because now I have all the exercise equipment inside). Getting enough sleep. Eating more mindfully in the evenings.

STOP: ordering takeout that ends up with delivery costs that double the price of the food. Staying up too late.

CONTINUE: the writing project I started working on in the summer and lost track of during a super busy fall.

ALSO I am going to continue my quest to do every single Zwift route. That satisfies my unruly completist side lol. I have currently done 37 of the 76 available routes.

Cate, selfie, sunshine and water, with bike helmet

Cate, also known as fieldpoppy, has been blogging here since 2015. One of her first posts was The Lithe Old Lady Inside Me.

Christine

Start: My project for this year, in every area of my life, is to commit to working WITH my ADHD instead of trying to fight it. I’m tweaking everything, especially exercise plans, to make it easier to be consistent.

Stop: I’m stopping ‘exercise shopping’ – I save all these interesting-looking workouts in my bookmarks and in my FB saves but I don’t go back to them. If I am not planning to try them at a specific time, I refuse to continue to build up a ‘should’ file.

Continue: I will continue to take my dog, Khalee, out for a 20-30 minute walk each afternoon, no matter what the weather brings.

Christine started blogging here in 2017 and her first post was Training To Be Seen.

blog · blogging · fitness · top ten

Most Read Posts in 2020

Our most read posts of the year, not necessarily written in 2020. The popularity of some early blog classics lives on. Not surprisingly many of the 2020 popular posts were about covid-19.

The most popular post of the year was COVID-19 and the gym, written by guest bloggers and building engineers Cara and Sarah. (2020)

At 53.5 Cate was still menstruating and her post about that was the second most read post on the blog. (2018)

JLo and Shakira are very fit older babes. They performed at a football game, controversy ensued, and Sam blogged about it here in our third most read post. (2020)

Our fourth most read post was all about Sam watching Brittany Runs a Marathon so you didn’t have to. (2020)

Crotch shots, sports photography and the objectification of athletes bodies is an older blog post with words in the title that often get put into search engines. Sam’s seven year old post was our fifth most read post. (2013)

Our sixth most read post was also from 2013. It’s Sam on sexual depravity, bike seats and speed. (2013)

Catherine had things to say about the NYT six minutes workout. That was the seventh most read post of the year. (2020)

The eighth most read post was Tracy doesn’t want to be a Precision Nutrition VIP membe. (2018)

Tracy also blogged about the “covid 19” and how she thinks it’s fat phobic. That was the ninth most read blog post of the year. (2020)

Finally, the tenth most read post was another old one by Sam about CrossFit and women’s bodies. (2014)

A gif of a cartoon woman squatting and pressing weights on a bar

blogging · Happy New Year! · top ten

2020’s Top Posts

These are most read posts in 2020 that were also written in 2020. Tomorrow I’ll share a list of most read posts in 2020, regardless of when they were written.

1. COVID-19 and the gym, guest bloggers and building engineers Cara and Sarah weigh in.

2. JLo and Shakira are very fit older babes. They performed at a football game, controversy ensued, and Sam blogged about it here.

3. Sam watched Brittany Runs a Marathon so you didn’t have to.

4. Catherine had things to say about the NYT six minutes workout.

Ernie and Bert and the number 6

5. Tracy blogged about the covid 19 and how she thinks it’s fat phobic.

6. Catherine on yoga posts she cant do and what she does instead.

Cat yoga

7. What is really okay for exercising outside, in Covid times, by Cate.

8. Catherine writes that women with jobs occasionally also wear bathing suits.

9. Burpees are bad for you? Sam is surprised

Dog and owner do burpees

10. Here’s a great thing about zoom yoga, by Catherine.

blog · blogging · fitness

Most read posts in October, #ICYMI

  1. Cate is still menstruating and people keep reading about it!
  2. Kim is saying goodbye as a regular blogger. Miss you Kim! Looking forward to reading your guest posts when the mood strikes.
  3. It’s another pandemic shutdown for fitness studios and gyms: Cate asks, how do we help?
  4. Sam wonders why hockey is so bad at gender stereotyping in its efforts to attract girls to the sport.
  5. My metabolic age is WHAT? Nicole’s post on weight and metabolic age, whatever that is supposed to be. It’s all not very clear what it is and why Nicole should care.
  6. Cate wants to know what your pandemic closet looks like. What are you wearing and why?
  7. If you stack a cord of wood do you still need to workout? Mina wonders about that.
  8. Martha is looking ahead to winter and offering some helpful reflections.
  9. Tracy still doesn’t want to be a Precision Nutrition repeat customer. She’s done.
  10. More then 7 years ago (!) Sam blogged about crotch shots, upskirts, sports reporting, and the objectification of female athletes’ bodies.

Ghostly latte art!

blog · blogging · fitness · schedule

Turning over a new leaf! The blog has a new schedule

What are the changes that prompted the new schedule? Kim is stepping away from a regular blog commitment but will post as/when inspired. Bettina is back from parental leave but is re-joining gradually with one post a month. Mina, Susan, and Nat are also posting once a month. Some of the blog regulars are moving to have a consistent day–I’m Mondays, Cate is Thursdays, and Catherine is Sundays. Others are keeping a regular day but writing every other week. That’s Martha, Christine, Marjorie, and Nicole.

Thing were getting messy and it was starting to be harder than usual to keep track of who was supposed to be posting and when. We’re hoping this makes it easier.

See the guest spots? That’s where you can come and join us if you like. Read about how to do that here.

Week 1

Monday: Sam

Tuesday: Christine

Wednesday: Mina

Thursday: Cate

Friday: Martha

Saturday: Nat

Sunday: Catherine

Week 2

Monday: Sam

Tuesday: Marjorie

Wednesday: Nicole

Thursday: Cate

Friday: Guest

Saturday: Bettina

Sunday: Catherine

Week 3

Monday: Sam

Tuesday: Christine

Wednesday: Catherine

Thursday: Cate

Friday: Martha

Saturday: Guest

Sunday: Catherine

Week 4

Monday: Sam

Tuesday: Marjorie

Wednesday: Nicole

Thursday: Cate

Friday, Susan

Saturday: Guest

Sunday: Catherine

Hanging fall leaves.
Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash