Monthly Archives: January 2014

On the Bright Side: 15 Positive Things About the Polar Vortex

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It’s January in Minnesota and it’s cold.  Really cold. School is closed.  Again.  We’re supposed to turn the thermostat down to conserve natural resources (really?).  Well, the glass can either be half full or half empty, folks.  Here is my attempt at the half full point of view.  

On the Bright Side: 15 Positive Things About the Polar Vortex

  1. Pinot Noir pairs quite nicely with any/every crock pot recipe out there. Trust me on this, I’ve tried it.
  2. Can Southerners justify Baileys in their morning coffee on a Tuesday?  Well, maybe.  But not as easily as we can.
  3. Relaxed parenting standards.  No one will question you for not setting up play dates, kids can stay in pajamas all day since they aren’t going anywhere, there is no homework and you can throw boiling water off the deck in the name of science. Also, see above.    
  4. This winter will give our kids some good stories to tell their kids when they are parents. “Remember that winter we made up snow days into July and it was so cold and lakes didn’t thaw until June? …  Now that was a cold winter.”  Wait… What?
  5. You know that last 5-10 pounds you have to lose? Fuhgeddaboudit.  No one will notice under your snow pants and down jacket anyway.  One word: insulation.  
  6. We will certainly not have to deal with belligerent drunks over-running our town as a spring break destination.
  7. Not even germs can survive in this weather.  If you feel a cold coming on step outside and breathe deep.  Cured.  (Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this is likely not sound medical advice.  It does, however, sound like something my grandma would have recommended and she did live into her nineties.)
  8. Not a mosquito or tick in sight.  Added bonus: no pollen or mold so no allergies either.
  9. A common bond. Nothing unites people more than a common adversary.  We are all in this together, people.  Plus, it gives us all something to talk about.
  10. All the snow covers up the dog poop in the yard.
  11. Ego check. Being slapped in the face by Mother Nature is one way to keep it real and remind us that we are at the mercy of a higher power.  Damn you, Mother Nature. Enough, I say. 
  12. It can be a good reminder to slow down and enjoy our time with family.  The world will continue on without schedules, appointments and agendas (and education, apparently).
  13. Bad hair day = wool hat.  No questions asked.
  14. It could be worse.  They could cancel hockey practice, too.
  15. A strong fortitude.  If we can survive January in the Midwest, we can take on anything.

This Is Why I Lift


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It seems the majority of people these days join a gym or undertake an exercise regimen with the goal of losing weight.  This is the message we receive day in and day out from various media sources: exercise to get skinny.  Since skinny is determined mostly by genes and has little, if anything, to do with being fit, this goal often leads to nothing more than frustration, failure and self loathing for not being able to achieve it. Forget skinny. Let me offer a different approach: exercise to get strong. Strong is a lifestyle.  Strong is a mind set.  Strong is a choice.  A healthy body weight just happens to be a nice side effect of a strong body.  Cardio is a fine choice to get the blood pumping and endorphins flowing, but it you truly want to change your body composition, lift some weights.  Heavy weights.  This will do more for your physique than countless hours on the treadmill.  Our bodies were made to move, so even if it doesn’t feel natural at first, once you start hoisting some weights around you will feel more energized, empowered and more alive than ever before. 

In case you need a little more convincing, I offer you ten better reasons to lift: 

  1. There is great satisfaction in the self-sufficiency of being strong enough to carry your own weight, figuratively and literally.
  2. The discipline that comes with working out at dawn every day is something carries over into many other aspects of life.
  3. The endorphin rush following a good workout does more to boost your mood than most anti-depressants on the market.
  4. Toned muscles will dramatically improve your posture
  5. Completing a strenuous workout is hard work.  This is something to be proud of and your confidence will show.
  6. You are inspiring others whether you are aware of it or not.  
  7. Working out with like-minded people is an opportunity to learn and connect with others. Not to mention that connecting with others during activity makes it feels less like a chore and more like a gift.
  8. Exercise has been shown to greatly improve mental clarity and boost creativity.  Who couldn’t use more of that?
  9. It is empowering to know that you are in control of your own health and well-being.  
  10. Being healthy makes you feel good about yourself, physically and mentally.  This is the stuff of true beauty

This is why I lift.