Existential Dread & Quarantine Fitness

Fitness tips for sanity

This year has been… a lot. A lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, and a lot of death. We deal with it in our own way, by spending too much time on social media, binging escapist media, creating art, or taking to the streets. Exercise makes my brain happy, so I’ve been doing a lot of that.

Depending where you are reading this from, you may well be in a country that has contained the novel coronavirus and, as such, perhaps you are able to venture out to the gym or public spaces to workout safely. Here in the US, that’s not currently the case. Despite the fervent insistence of many of our politicians, it’s still wise to avoid contact with other humans whenever possible as the virus continues to spread. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home some days, both for my day job and for this blog, so I’ve developed a home routine.

At Home Fitness Classes

I’m a member of the YMCA and when gyms closed, my local Y started offering virtual classes, both through Zoom and via the Les Mill’s OnDemand app. I was able to both temporarily suspend my YMCA membership, and start taking classes at home. Les Mill’s is not normally free, but thanks to the Y, I got a 90-day trial. I love it so much that I’m likely to start paying when that ends. Lots of the classes don’t require equipment – I’m partial to Bodycombat and Bodyflow. I have in the past taken Bodypump, back in the pre-virus days at the Y. I like that class enough that, if I do ever get equipment, it will be the reason why.

If neither of these type of classes are available to you, definitely search YouTube. I’ve used it extensively for both HIIT workouts and yoga, though I don’t doubt there are plenty of other options, as well.

A television showing Les MIlls Bodycombat on the screen
Free subscription via the YMCA + Chromecast = home fitness class

 

Bodyweight Exercises

You don’t really need anything to workout aside from reasonable health and some motivation. Pushups suck, planks suck, do enough crunches, and they suck, too. In my experience, when a workout sucks, it’s because I need to do it more, so that’s not a bad thing. If you need some suggestions, there are tons online. If you are in the US, maybe look some up before hitting the streets. Bodyweight exercises are also called prison workouts for a reason, and if you find yourself in opposition to the law for defending the rights of people of color to exist without being murdered by law enforcement, you may need something to do in your cell.

Workout with Fitness Equipment at Home

You may or may not have much in the way of personal equipment and buying things is not always an option. I was able to find some bigger stuff for free on local Facebook groups. If you can’t do that or don’t have space, there are certain little things that are really cheap like hand weights or jump rope. Jump rope is the worst. By which I mean, it’s a great workout and I’m terrible at it, so I hate it. It’s also super affordable and all you need is a small open space and a willingness to publicly look like an exhausted, uncoordinated oaf.

ab wheel
I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this cheap thing.

 

Running

Run in your neighborhood, run on trails, run on a treadmill, and in the US, run from your local police as they fire rubber bullets at you for daring to oppose the treatment of people of color at their hands. Regardless of your choice, there are plenty of apps available for free to help you track your run. However, depending on circumstances, you may want to forgo tracking and just get that cardio in. When I do use a tracker, I currently use Strava, but I’ve used MapMyRun or the unfortunately named Runtastic in the past. There are plenty of good options.

Oh, and consider wearing a mask when you run. Remember when people were doing that on purpose?

runner sitting on a dirt road
Ideally you’ll be on your feet

Whatever it is you decide to do to keep yourself sane and your anxiety at bay while dread of an increasingly uncertain future gnaws at your psyche, try to do it with the future in mind. In chaos, there is opportunity to forge a better future for us all.

Colorado Road Trip Activities

For when you’re stuck in traffic

Colorado is a great place to visit, but if you want to experience all the state has to offer, you’re going ot be on the road quite a bit. Odds are pretty solid you’ll be stuck on I-70 at some point. However will you pass the time?

Rocky Mountains in the Indian Peaks Wilderness
Look at all of that natural beauty you’re struggling to access
  1. Ski Rack or Cop? It’s seriously hard to tell, especially from a distance. Given that the Subaru is the unofficial car of Colorado, be prepared to live in constant fear of tickets you can’t afford. Be especially concerned if it’s winter and you aren’t obeying traction law on I-70.
  2. Dead skunk or marijuana grow? A real thing in Colorado and especially relevant on rural backroads. Seriously hard to tell the difference sometimes.
  3. Podcasts. Not a joke, just something I like. Download them first if you are headed to the mountains because rural areas often equal shitty phone service. Plan ahead. Side note, also bring a physical map for the same reason. Yes, I know it’s 2020 and yes, I’m serious. I live in the mountains so I know how bad Google can be there.
  4. I-70 Tailgate Party. Stuck on I-70 again due to ski/summer/holiday/mystery traffic? Plan ahead. Bring snacks, chairs, maybe a small grill. Setup shop. Get to know your new neighbors. You live there now.
  5. Emergency Tire Chain-up. Fun! It’s June, but somehow you’ve found high altitude snow and you’re sliding backward down a mountain canyon. Good thing you planned ahead and have chains in your trunk.

Have anything you like to do that you want to share? Tell me in the comments!

Holiday Travel Tips

Stay sane during your travels

The husband and I are about to embark on our yearly pilgrimage to the decaying industrial wasteland of my youth. The holidays are hard and holiday travel is worse, so enjoy this list of survival tips, and make it your destination with your sanity intact.

1. Fly Southwest. I find this necessary because my mother will inevitability give us gifts despite our protestations and then we’ll have to pack them home. Southwest’s baggage friendly policies make them my go to for holiday travel.

One caveat – if the weather gets bad and your flight is canceled, enjoy your sleep on the airport floor. They offer no hotel vouchers for weather issues.

Ideally, you can avoid packing much in the way of objects, stick with a light carry on, and fly with any airline you choose. However, if your family insists on gifts… Southwest, it is.

A crowded airport
Chicago Midway Airport. A wretched hive of lines and misery during a snowstorm.

2. Avoid Children. Like, don’t have them. Then you neither have to fly with them, nor inflict them upon others. It’s all win. If you do bring your small human on the plane and said small human spends the entire flight kicking the back of my seat, then I shall curse you and your house with incurable acne for seven generations.

Note: Don’t ask how, just run with it. Oh, and please don’t send me angry messages about kids. I love other people’s kids. Just not on planes.

3. Wear Antiperspirant. This one is for you. Also, for me. Antiperspirant all around, please. Holiday airline travel is no time for simple deodorant or ineffective crystals.

4. Do not drink heavily the night before. You do not want to be the passenger using the vomit bag. Yes, I am speaking from experience. No, you may not ask questions.

5. Pack an empty water bottle. Once you get through security, fill that baby up. Drink from it. Avoid dehydration.

4 bottles of moonshine
These bottles contain moonshine, not water. Do not pack them.

6. Pack snacks. Do not give airlines and airports the pleasure of the upcharge. They are cheap bastards who pack us into planes like cattle and charge us $6 for a handful of chips. Take that pain and feed it back to them in the form of reduced profits. It’s all we have, really.

7. Noise cancelling headphones + music of choice + a healthy imagination. This is even more effective if you also pull your hat over your eyes. In this way, you can be anywhere you want, and nothing seems sends a stronger signal to your seatmate that you want left alone than blocking all your senses.

8. Wear proper footwear. This is not the day to wear your thigh high lace up boots. We will hate you at security and will silently cheer when you are hauled off for a randomly selected and overly handy pat down.

9. Don’t hog the chargers. Airports never have enough of the damn things and we all need them. Avoid airport hunger games and pack a battery pack. This reminds me – I need a new battery back.

10. Don’t Participate. Just opt out of the whole damn thing and stay home. Do as I say, not as I do.

Happy holidays and what not.