fitness

Better when I’m dancing

“Cate’s over there having a dance party,” Leslie laughed.

We were in the first rest minute of four rounds of five back squats at my feminist fitness studio, and I was dancing around my bar, treating it like a gracious partner. When the minute clicked over and I turned back to my weights, I quickly moved up to the heaviest weight I’ve lifted in this position.

I never go OUT dancing. But at the gym and when I’m running? I dance almost every day.

I’ve been gushing for months about the feminist #getstrong cross-fit style classes I’ve been doing since March. There are about 25 reasons I love this studio, ranging from its woman-focused, body-positive perspective, to discovering I can deadlift 145 lbs (and counting!), to the profound sense of community and encouragement I feel there. (Hi Nicole!) I think I’ve mentioned this before, but this is the only workout thing I’ve ever done I’m willing to do at 7 am.

The one thing I haven’t written about, though, is the impact of the music in the classes on me.

I’ve always been the kind of person who listens to music while I work out or run, but my music choices can get kind of repetitive. Sometimes I’m running and I think, “oh, this song reminds me of running in White Rock!” — and then I remember that I lived in White Rock more than 10 years ago. If my soundtrack is stale, is it possible that my workouts are stale too?

Judging by how re-activated I’ve become since I started working out at Move, I think the answer is a resounding yes. And yes, it’s the structure and the coaches and the community and the strength-discovery — but it’s also the music. Often, in the rest periods between sets, I dance around. Even — like in the back squat day — when I arrive at class feeling exhausted, the kind of moment where if I hadn’t signed up in advance, I would never go. (Late cancels aren’t refundable. It’s a good policy).

When the music hits the right note, I get energized — and then I’m dancing around the rig, or over to get a heavier weight. It particularly happens in Alex’ classes — she picks playlists that speak to me — and she always notices and cracks up. And in that moment, I am HAPPY from the inside out.

Last weekend I danced at the Shawn Mendes concert with my sister and nieces, which was fun — I especially enjoyed all of these girls and young women being completed unfettered.

(Well, I did get a little bored toward the end — my niece took a photo of me doing a crossword puzzle on my phone). But at this point in my life, I can’t imagine actually going OUT dancing. It STARTS after I’m already in BED! But when I’m moving my body in exercise, sometimes I’m approximating dancing — and sometimes — at Move or at lights when I’m running, I’m actually dancing.

In writing this post, I thought I’d end with sharing my current playlist. And then I realized I really just want an excuse to gush about Lizzo.

From my vantage point, 2019 was the summer of Lizzo. (If you haven’t watched her Tiny Desk concert, do yourself a favour and spend the next 10 minutes doing that now. It’s pure delight).

At the beginning of the summer, a colleague shared with me that the night before, she’d been at her best friend’s 40th birthday party — and her gift to her friend was a burlesque number she’d put together to Lizzo’s Because I Love You. “Because I love her,” she said simply. (I got to see some of the video — it was awesome). That embodied what I love about Lizzo — full-bodied, sexy, unapologetic, full-voiced, love yourself and your friends who get and accept you.

And then there’s this:

When I’m working out or running, I channel Lizzo. I’m my own soulmate — “look in the mirror like damn she the one.” Here’s my current playlist, so you can channel her yourself. It starts with Lizzo’s Juice and then wanders through an array of (mostly) women who’ve inspired me, raunchy, sexy, delicate, vulnerable and honest, all summer. (You can find it on Spotify under my cateinTO i.d).

Do you dance when you’re working out? What’s your soundtrack?

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who lives, works and dances in Toronto.

fitness classes · yoga

Live music vs. live goats in yoga class: which is better?

Catherine on 6 ways live music is better than live goats in yoga class:

  1. Goats don’t have fingers, so they’re not adept at playing either keyboards or cello.
  2. Musicians don’t stand on your back during crocodile and plank pose.
  3. Musicians (for the most part) poop in private.
  4. Reproducing music for at-home yoga requires only a CD or mp3; reproducing goats for at-home yoga is a much bigger commitment.
  5. The kind of chanting goats do doesn’t conform to any Sanskrit texts I know of.
  6. Musicians might be bad but goats can be really baaaaaaaad…
The actual bass player who played for my yoga class (although this isn't my yoga class).
The actual bass player who played for my yoga class (although this isn’t my yoga class).

Sam on 6 ways live goats are better than live music in yoga class:

  1. Goats make me smile, especially when they stand on your back during child’s pose. Musicians don’t do that.
  2. Goat yoga feels less serious and more playful. Yoga with music might, for me, feel more like a performance.
  3. Baby goats are clumsy (like me!) and live music is usually rhythmic and orderly.
  4. You don’t get to feed the musicians bottles and tuck them into bed after yoga and the farm I do goat yoga at lets you do that with the goats.
  5. Goats provide excellent distractions when the poses are too hard.
  6. Goats sometimes nibble on your yoga clothes so everyone wears scruffy old clothes not pricey Lululemon matching outfits.
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#goatyoga

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Bottle feeding a baby goat

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So many goats

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feminism · fitness · running

Tracy’s Spring 2018 Feminist Running Playlist

Image description: Purple treble clef with a woman symbol fist at the bottom against a light background.
Image description: Purple treble clef with a woman symbol fist at the bottom against a light background.

The other day Sam and I were reflecting on how for some reason our feminism has gone from “rage-y” and ranty to reasonable and moderate. Maybe it’s because we are both university administrators, so we can’t afford to be rage-y and ranty at work (for the most part…), at least not overtly so, if we want to get stuff done. But it’s spilled over into the blog. I can’t remember the last time I unleashed some good old feminist rage about something.

And I’m not about to do it here in this blog post today. But I’m warming myself up to it. This week I put together a new running playlist and I decided to draw the entire thing from Jessica’s feminist playlist, on Spotify as “Handle that Shit (with strength and grace and a well-timed fuck)(explicit).”

Her playlist was a collaborative effort among friends on social media. She put the call out for feminist tunes for cranking and feeling that surge of strength and solidarity. And the suggestions started rolling in, and rolling in, and rolling in. I shared her call on my timeline and again, more ideas. In the end, she put together an amazing and varied 13.5 hour playlist. I highly recommend it.

Not all the tunes are good for running, though many are. I tapped into it when constructing a new playlist for the upcoming season (I say “upcoming” because here it is spring in name only).  As I said the last time I shared a playlist, it’s really idiosyncratic to me. I don’t measure beats per minute. I start off a bit slower and pick up the pace. But I’ve not yet test run it and it’s possible that I will need to double click on my ear bud chord a few times if a tune comes on that is not well-suited to where I’m at in my run. It will take a bit of tweaking for order and adequacy.

Feel free to follow it, suggest additions, or register suggestions and complaints (not promising to honor all of them, since my main goal is to make a playlist that works for me.  I have tried it out at personal training twice this week, and it’s great for that. Paul (my trainer) complained (in jest) that he didn’t feel represented. I take that as a good sign that it’s hitting at least one feminist mark. And when my friend Alison showed up at the tail end of my session, she remarked that the music was fantastic.

Here it is (explicit): “Tracy Running Spring 2018”

  1. “Deeper Well,” Emmylou Harris/Wrecking Ball
  2. “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” Eurythmics/Ultimate Collection
  3. “Smile More,” Deep Vally/Femejism
  4. “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” Joan Jett, The Blackhearts/Up Your Alley
  5. “U + Ur Hand,” Pink/I’m Not Dead
  6. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” Kelly Clarkson/Stronger
  7. “Fuck Love,” Iggy Azalea/The New Classic
  8. “Suddenly I See,” KT Tunstall/Eye to the Telescope
  9. “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” The Ting Tings/We Started Nothing
  10. “Hot Topic,” Le Tigre/Le Tigre
  11. “Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani/Let’s Get It Started
  12. “No Man’s Woman,” Sinead O’Connor/Faith and Courage
  13. “Run the World (Girls),” Beyonce/4
  14. “Fuck You,” Lily Allen/It’s not Me, It’s You
  15. “TiK ToK,” Kesha/Animal
  16. “Bad Girls,” M.I.A./Matangi
  17. “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” Nancy Sinatra/Boots
  18. “Hung Up,” Madonna/Confessions on a Dance Floor
  19. “I Kissed a Girl,” Katy Perry/One of the Boys
  20. “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child/Survivor
  21. “Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor Swift/Look What You Made Me Do
  22. “Hit ‘Em up Style (Oops!)” Blu Cantrell/Bittersweet
  23. “4 Minutes,” Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland/Celebration
  24. “Push It,” Salt-N-Pepa/The Best of Salt-N-Pepa
  25. “Woman,” Kesha, The Dap-Kings Horns/Rainbow
  26. “Shout Out to My Ex,” Little Mix/Glory Days (Deluxe)
  27. “Boss Ass Bitch,” Pretty Taking All Fades/Boss Ass Bitch
  28. “I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor/New In Town
  29. “Not Fair,” Lily Allen/It’s Not Me, It’s You
  30. “No Scrubs,” TLC/Fanmail
  31. “NO,” Meghan Trainer/NO
  32. “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift/1989 (Deluxe Edition)
  33. “PBNJ,” Patti Cake$/Patti Cake$ (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

This post may not be a rage-y feminist rant, but the playlist is warming me up for one! Hope it does the same for you.

fitness · motivation

Tracy’s new fave music video because that kid! What attitude!

One of the greatest things about having a large community of active people around me is that great recommendations I get when I put out a call for tunes to refresh my running playlist with. The most recent update came to me, not with my own call but in a comment thread in response to someone else’s. Maybe I’ve had this recommended to me before, but I didn’t follow up. That was back when no one had posted the video. This time, someone did.

The tune is called “Soy yo,” which is Spanish for “I am.” It’s by Bomba Estéreo. My Spanish is kind of rusty, so beyond the title I don’t know what the words mean. But it doesn’t matter because the music video has given me such a positive impression of the song that I feel like a million bucks of invincibility every time I hear it. It’s all on account of the kid at the heart of the video. She is just bursting with life, with attitude, with gumption.

From the minute she steps out of the salon where she just had her hair done, clearly pleased with herself and the result, she is ready to take on the world. And so she does. In three short scenes, she puts herself out there with unabashed self-confidence. And I’m cheering for her all the way.

See for yourself!

What’s your current fave video (preferably it’s attached to a great tune for my revised winter running playlist)?

cycling

Fave bike songs (or some music for a Wednesday!)

image

Here’s some of my favourite bicycle songs:

1. She Rides, by Evalyn Parry, from her one woman show, SPIN

2. Me and My Bike, by Gracious Collective

3. I Got a Bicycle! by Coco Love Alcorn

https://fitisafeministissue.com/2013/08/21/i-got-a-bicycle-love-this-song/

4. Broken Bicycles, by Tom Waits

5. Bicycle Race, Queen (of course) (featuring naked women racing bicycles, of course)

6. Bicycle Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Here’s some more lists of favourite bicycle songs:

1. Mixtape: http://flavorwire.com/73760/mixtape-10-best-songs-about-bicycles

2. Most downloaded bike theme songs: http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/tour-de-france-10-most-downloaded-bike-themed-songs-revealed-__4297/

3. Total women’s cycling 9 songs about bikes: http://totalwomenscycling.com/lifestyle/9-songs-about-bikes-and-cycling-19747/#y8rmhU5xJ81Husvd.97

 What are your favourite songs about bicycles?

Girls on bikes, in Brooklyn, with stripes and swimming caps.  Like synchro swimmers who're totally over the water!  Yeah!