fitness · motivation

Why did you hit the gym? Our readers have some excellent reasons

We shared this on our Facebook page and asked followers why they go the gym. We got some excellent responses! Enjoy!

Can lift bigger dogs
Fight the power
Being able to manage my autistic son during meltdowns (he’s very strong for only 4!)
So I can just keep going.
To break up a day where I have to sit still a lot. And to enjoy the feeling of stretching warm muscles!
Train to defeat zombies in case of apocalypse
Catch up on my fave shows.
Impress children with totally unnecessary but obviously cool ninja-type moves
Another reason to wear comfortable yoga pants.
To keep up with my kids. We all get older. They get stronger. So I work harder.
Use the shower there if you are “between homes”.
Carry more boxes of wine, farther
Carry big bags of food for my ratties upstairs
Improves your mood!
Can pretend you’re in a movie montage
Water pressure is vastly superior at the gym
Manage my anxiety and depression.
Load my own bags of dirt/dog food.
Swimming feels fucking GREAT.
It helps fight depression.
Conditioning for snowboarding.
So you can squat more! And more! And more!
Watch Netflix.
Still walk upstairs in my own house when I’m 90.
Get your brain to turn off for a minute
Keep up with my nieces and nephews (and one day the grand versions) on the playground. Have energy to do stuff as I get older. Be able to haul around all the heavy-ass weights I need to cold water scuba dive. Impress the young things when I can keep up in the pool/on the trail
Manage my own luggage when I overpack
Carry silly large loads of groceries into the house in a trip
Continue to hike, bike and tri as I get older
Continue to be the person who can climb into the back of a packed minivan or wagon
Change the bottle on the water cooler
Push my behemoth of a boyfriend back to his side of the bed when he rolls over to my side in the middle of the night. Also, escape this horrific family history of heart disease and diabetes that’s coming for me.
Rage Management, being strong enough support a person making life, my own mental health, role modelling active living for my family. Not in that order.#remindmetogotothegym
Being able to move injured people in an emergency if need be, climbing mountains, being in shape enough to do my outdoors-y job, defending myself when necessary

Any other reasons?

competition · racing

XRated Run: One race I won’t be running

the letter XOn this blog I jokingly asked if the days of the vanilla 5 km run were over. These days it’s all about funny colours, rave lighting and music, mud, obstacles, and zombies.

You name it, the duo of  Fit,  Feminist, and (Almost) Fifty bloggers plus our extended community of fit, feminist guests of all ages have done it and blogged about it.

On the whole, I love the participatory spirit of these events. For the most part, they’re fun, aiming to get everybody out there moving, and have a real party atmosphere. I don’t see a need to be a snob about race culture. There were thousands of young people, mostly in their 20s and 30s I’d guess, out for the Warrior Dash. Music and costumes and a great supportive spirit.

I might be approaching 50 but I’m not a grump like the guy who wrote this:  The Slowest Generation: Younger Athletes Are Racing With Less Concern About Time. The fifty something author of that piece thinks youngsters are ruining competitive racing with their lack of concern for finishing times. Me, I still see lots of very serious racing out there and if these fun runs capture people who would never race competitively, then I’m all in favour. The more the merrier, to each her own, etc…

Tracy agrees in her blog post on why she likes races in which everyone gets a medal.

Here’s someone’s Warrior Dash video that seems to capture the mood.

But there’s one themed race I won’t be doing: The X Rated Run.

It even involves mud, which I like. And also lots of nudity, sex, toys, and porn.

I’m not staying away from the X Rated Run because I’m a prude or the sort of feminist who thinks these things are a bad idea for women. I don’t.  I’m a sex positive feminist.

However, you might know from my past post on sexercise that there are things I don’t like to mix.

What’s the attraction? Obviously some people think it’s sexy and fun. Some people think if you like two things, say like food and sex, the combo is even better. Not me. Not food and sex. Not exercise and sex either. If it’s fun for you, great. But me, I’ll stick to running, biking, rowing, weight lifting, soccer etc.

What’s the X Rated Run? Here’s a brief description from their website.

Forget 50 Shades of Grey – X-rated is 50 Shades of Mud.

We’re bringing to you the sexiest, wildest and most outrageous obstacles on the mud run circuit, where fitness is not a factor, but fun definitely is!

Whether you’re a seasoned mud-runner or a mud-run virgin, get out of your comfort zone, bring your sense of humor, leave your conservatism at home and join us for a day of adult-themed fun.

We guarantee you’ll get hot, sweaty, sticky, and covered in more than 50 Shades of mud! Come on your own, as a pair or enter a team, just make sure you’re over 18!
sexy mud runner

Here’s a description from the Sports Illustrated blog Extra Mustard:

If you’re a mud-running enthusiast who has ever wanted porn stars, pole dancers, and generous sexual innuendo with your endurance racing, you best start searching Kayak for flights to Bunnell, Florida on March 22. That’s when thousands of runners with questionable motives will flock to the Sunshine State for the inaugural X-Rated Run, described on its site as “THE ORIGINAL, FIRST OF ITS KIND, 5K adult-themed obstacle course race for all people over 18 of all fitness abilities!”

The event—which will feature such obstacles as the Dominatrix Dungeon, the G-String Crawl, and the Boob Wall—is the brainchild of Kelly Perez, an obstacle-course buff and the owner of adult novelty store She got into the hobby after other attempts at weight-loss regimens didn’t stick, and the idea came to her during a workout session with her Marine cousin.

“One day while training, I felt drained and wanted to give up,” Perez recalls. “I said, ‘This is B.S. Forget it. I’m not an elite athlete—I sell sex toys for a damn living.’ My cousin replied, ‘Stop f—ing complaining, and envision crawling through a penis tunnel.’ After I laughed, it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I literally envisioned an entire obstacle course made out of boobs and penises. Exercise and sex are so closely related: They both cause you to get all hot, sweat, and release feel good pheromones. So why is there not an event that can bring the two together?”

On the bright side, it’s associated with a charity, A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the, promoting campaigns against female genital mutilation (FGM) and helping restore a sense of dignity and pleasure. Visit to learn more.
How much of the proceeds go to charity? If that’s a factor in signing up for a race, it’s wise to find out more. See Nat’s guest post, Philanthropy and Fitness.

Do I have any actual feminist concerns? Mostly I just think it’s not to my taste. (That’s the phrase my kids used growing up when they didn’t like a meal.)  There’s the usual objectification of women and mainstream standards of beauty and stereotyping of everyone’s tastes and pleasures, no doubt with a healthy dose of heterosexism and heteronormativity thrown in for good measure. But hey, that’s just any mainstream women’s magazine or a typical Saturday afternoon at the mall. That is to say, it’s no more offensive from a feminist angle than most of life in general, except it’s sexually explicit.

I do have one really worry about consent, power dynamics, and really demanding physical activity. At the Warrior Dash, no one made you do the obstacles. There was no penalty for not doing them and no one yelled at you. Instead, some of the obstacle staff gave tips on how to complete a given obstacle quickly and safely. If you decided not to do it, then you ran around it. And for the most part, the Warrior Dash didn’t feel so much like a race. Some obstacles were so much fun that people did them twice. Even I was tempted by the “slip and slide.” But I gather that at the Tough Mudder people yell at you.

If you add “people yelling at you to complete obstacles” to a “50 shades of Grey” dynamic and add in some untrained athletes there more for the sexiness and less for the athletic competition, my thought is things might go badly wrong. And if the people attending got their understanding of consent from that particular book, then yikes.(For a feminist, kink positive review of 50 Shades etc, see crazy and criminal: on those damn books, and why they matter.)

racing · running

The Zombie Run (Guest Post)

Runners facing zombies on the final leg
Zombie Slide
Zombie Slide

I just completed my first fun run in great style: the Zombie Run! Well, maybe not THE Zombie Run as I believe there are others even just in Windsor. Zombies have become all the rage, it seems! The organizers reported that 4000 people signed up. And it was great fun even though I was in a cranky mood beforehand.

I was on my own, grabbed a lift with a friend who was part of a team of four, but I told them not to wait for me as I didn’t intend to run the whole thing.  Apparently there were 50 zombies on the course, and that seemed accurate.  I’d guess that the “runners” — since many were mostly walking as I did — appeared to be mostly (two-thirds) women, and ages up to 60; same for the zombies.  Most runners were in teams and dressed in imaginative costumes: torn and bloody shirts, various clever names, superheroes, bees, hallowe’en orange & black, and various sorts of tutus. (I would never have imagined wearing a tutu in public, but now I want one!)

I ended up walking with someone who’s team had pulled ahead of her, Kathy. We were both down to one flag from among our original three “health” flags.  We gained a replacement flag at at a water stop in exchange for eating a small amount of pig’s tongue (minced and spiced, much like paté). No fake brains here, real organ meat. I’m not sure what they do about vegetarians! Windsor is a bit backward that way.

The zombies earlier in the route were the most aggressive, and it was a killer having to run uphill through the first group. I fell twice and lost two flags in the first five minutes. There were bottlenecks and muddy spots. But perhaps the worst for me was the burrs! Vicious plants! Evil flora! Burdocks all over my running pants and poking into my skin.

In the end Kathy and I both lost all our health flags as we’d both expected. My favourite part may have been toward the end having the luxury of a close-up view of the zombies performing, trying to grab flags from those who still had them.  However, I loved the final (zombie-free) water slide at the end.

I will enjoy my next run more, and hopefully have a team. Let me know if you want to join me!

The start and finish, before the runners and zombies get going
The start and finish, before the runners and zombies get going
Catherine and her friend Tracy
Catherine and her friend Tracy