Tag Archives: gym

How To Stay In Shape During the Holidays

There’s a lot of talk this time of year about people being too busy to exercise and keep up with their fitness routines. While I always find time to hop into the gym—if only to see if Hot Gym guy is hanging around—or throw in a Jillian Michaels DVD for 30 minutes so I can yell, “I’M NOT PHONING IT IN!, I understand that some people simply have different priorities.

Considering I don’t prioritize spending more than five minutes on my makeup in the morning, no judgment here.

But there’s good news! Because just like holiday décor doesn’t have to come from traditional places, neither does breaking a sweat and getting in a workout during the holiday season. I’m here today to let you know that it’s totally fine if the only jogging you do is of your memory while trying to remember where you hid that last freaking gift.

So pull off that ugly Christmas sweater, do a few light stretches and feel the burn doing things you’re probably already doing, my friends!


Dashing through the snow to bring the trash bin to the end of the driveway before the truck comes in the morning.

Doing twisting crunches in bed to reach and hit the snooze again super-setted with kicking off the sheets or blanket in an effort to get untwisted.

Walking around the parking lot looking for where you parked your car (while ticking off the parking spot stalkers that are waiting for you to get in your car and leave, like you’re roaming around in the cold on purpose.)

Pushing a grocery cart through the slushy lot requires lower body strength while upper body strength is necessary to try and steer the cart away from the direction the slush wants to go—most often into another parked car.

When grocery shopping, lifting the overflowing basket you told yourself you would use instead of a full cart is great for building up your arms—be sure to switch from right to left for equal amounts of time.

Loading/unloading the car and then carrying all the groceries/purchases in one trip because you’re cold and don’t want to walk back outside is great for both the upper and lower body. Be sure to throw in a few kickboxing kicks as you try and catch the door before it slams shut.

Forget the stairmaster! Going up and down the stairs to retrieve boxes of decorations, armloads of laundry and gifts you forgot that you hid will get the job done just as well.

Lifting boxes of decorations alternated with moving furniture around—no, that looks better over there. No wait, push it over there.—works both the upper and lower body.

Putting ornaments on the Christmas tree involves calf raises to reach the top, squats to bend down pick up dropped ornaments and tones the shoulders when you take the ball full of tangled lights and throw them across the room.

Running through the stores trying to avoid people you know that you don’t want to get stuck talking to because there are SO MANY PEOPLE in the store and you just want to leave is great cardio, not to mention the plyometrics involved in the starting and stopping each time.

Don’t worry about eating those baked goods, as whisking and stirring ingredients for desserts sculpts your arms, quick squats in front of the oven to bend down and check how things are baking works your legs and lunging to catch the egg before it falls off the counter works your butt.

And finally—and possibly the most important exercise of all—is power yoga, and by “power yoga” I mean lying in corpse pose on the couch for a minimum of two hours a day.

See? You’re pretty much an elite athlete at this point, so enjoy those chestnuts roasting on an open fire and another slice of pie. After all, you’ve more than earned it.

P.S. I have to add that I was overwhelmed by your replies to my last post and on my Facebook page. I’m still trying to deal with everything, but all your support honestly made this ice queen melt quite a bit. I plan on writing about it a bit more in the future, because if nothing else it’s new blog fodder. But today, just…thanks. Now go do your grocery cart glute crunches!

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Common Scents Cardio

There are certain things that annoy me about going to the gym, and 99.9 percent of those things are actually people.


And this is probably the other .1 percent.

But seeing as I do not own the gym or live in a serene bubble of immunity from stupidity, I put on my big girl yoga pants and sports bra—not hard, considering I’m probably wearing them anyway—and deal with them. However, there are general annoyances and then there are things that just don’t need to happen.

I bring this up because of one particular instance in the cardio room the other day in which I was on the stationary bike positioned in front of the treadmills. Seeing as I was the only one in there, I put on a HAZMAT suit to grab the TV remote to turn on something good to distract me.

Now let’s just say that there are a few members of the gym that everyone knows to be weirdos.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but these are the people that when you see their car in the parking lot, you figure your cardio will be ducking away from their conversations about diminishing pension plans, the color of their bruised and battered toe nail or anything else they can complain about.

On this particular day in question one of those gentlemen was on the treadmill behind me, drinking coffee while strolling along. Yes, he sips coffee while walking on the treadmill.

All of the sudden a horrible stench wafted through the air. It was only the two of us in the cardio room, so I knew that this guy had farted. Now I know things can slip out from time to time, so I held my breath for a second or two and dismissed it as no big deal.

But then it happened again. And again.

There is only so much one can take, so I started glancing behind me in that subtle, “I know you just farted and I’m trying not to gag” way I hoped would prove effective despite a history of ineffectiveness.

When another odorous breeze wafted up a minute later, I took to the less-subtle but often more effective “what the hell is your problem, dude?” gesture of pulling my T-shirt up over my nose in hopes of eeking out a gasp of fresh air.

At that point the Fart Factory gave a little laugh and said, “Ha. Is that me? Sorry about that. Must be the coffee.”

Was that him? The only other person in this room? And “it must be the coffee?” Then perhaps one should refrain from sipping Starbucks while plodding along in a bubble of odorous obliviousness, good sir!

At that point I just removed my shirt from my nose, gave one glance back in my, “I’ll give a small smile now as long as you cut that shit out” way I was hoping would discourage future flatulence through the sheer intensity of my gaze.

Thankfully from that point on the oxygen supply remained flatulence free, and I wasn’t subjected to the paranoia of someone else walking in and thinking that stench was from me.

After all, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you only break a sweat and not break wind. It’s really just common sense—and scents.

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Citizen’s Arrest

Do you know why I pulled you over today?

This is a citizen’s arrest, my friend. You have the crappiest car on the road, yet pimped it out with a large spoiler and the loudest exhaust system on the planet. Add in the obscene rap music from cheap speakers with no bass, and we’re going to have to write you up.

Your reputation?

Let me educate you, son. Community studies have shown that chicks don’t dig a loud exhaust on a 1993 Ford Escort or the fact that the only thing bigger than your tires is your ego. I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way.

Plus, it’s a 4-way stop. Not a Rubik’s cube. Pay your fine and be on your way.

Drop the apple or else the Pet Peeve Police is going to have to cite you for clamorous consumption.


Not only is the loud crunching of your apple cutting throughout the quiet room like a firecracker, the loud slurping of apple juices that follows each bite gives one the impression that both Mr. Ed and a lapdog are enjoying the fruits of some produce plant’s labor.

Plus, it’s been proven that hearing the sound of people loudly eating food is one of the best ways to no longer enjoy it yourself, and seeing as how I love fruits and vegetables, I’m going to have to ask you to either cut up said fruit or just tone it down.

During this probationary period you’re also to refrain from corn on the cob. Public consumption of this vegetable is strictly prohibited and limited to confines of home. For everyone.

Excuse me young lady. Please step to the side of the locker room.

It has been reported that you were overheard talking with your “besties” about how “totes old” and fat you felt despite the fact that you’re a 20-year-old woman with the metabolism of a manic hummingbird with hyperthyroidism.

On top of that, you turned “Jersey Shore” on the TV in the cardio room, walked for 5 minutes while checking your phone and then left in a cloud of JLo perfume without offering the remote to anyone else. I was willing to overlook that last charge until you called me “sweetie.”

Three strikes. Don’t let the door hit your perky butt on the way out. (#forreals)

Ma’am, please move your grocery cart over by the large stuffed animal-filled crane machine. It’s come to our attention that you are a menace to the sanity of shoppers. Why?

First, you were observed violating code 45D—creeping up past the plastic grocery lane divider and piling on your items with no regard for the personal space or the power of that plastic partition. Back it up, woman. You’ll have your turn.

Second, you were talking on your cell phone while at the checkout counter, completely ignoring the cashier while loudly discussing your husband’s colonoscopy prep. This is a clear violation of, well, society.  

Finally, you stood at the register and studied your receipt for 30 seconds before moving your cart towards the door, so at this time we’re going to have to ask you to do all of your shopping at Wal-mart.

The punishment must fit the crime.

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Your turn. Who deserves a Citizen’s Arrest?

Grocery Girl Gone Wild

There are some things that you can’t “unsee,” and the naked body of a local grocery store cashier on display in the gym locker room is one of those things. But let me explain the context of this situation, as I think I need to talk myself through this difficult time.

Unless you’re new here, you know that my usual swinging single gal hangouts include the gym, the grocery storeand the retirement home of my grandma. Most of the cashiers at the store are familiar with my presence and I know which lanes go quickly/allow me to sneak expired coupons and which to avoid.

This particular cashier is probably somewhere between the ages of 23-27 and what I would describe as…comfortably awkward? She seems really nice but slightly misguided as evidenced by questionable fashion accessories from the ‘90s and clumsy lane conversation.

Anyway, I go through her lane if it’s open because she’s been there forever and knows to hand me my change with all the dollar bills facing the same exact way, so she’s a winner in my book, regardless of whether or not she’s wearing a snap bracelet and hair scrunchie.

A couple weeks ago I walked into the gym and saw her on a treadmill. Now this was a surprising turn of events and I felt my worlds collide—grocery girl at the gym?—and had to do a double take. She did the same thing and gave an awkward half-wave thing that I reciprocated while pondering the fact that I never took her to be a runner, but apparently she is.

I’ve seen her at the gym a couple times in passing since that point and once or twice at the store, but recently things got a bit tricky.

After ogling Hot Gym Guy for an appropriate amount of time—somewhere between “gets the heart rate up to cardio level” and “remember about the restraining order”—I walked to the locker room and opened the door. The first thing I saw was boobs, which caused me to avert my eyes down only to be greeted with cooter.

Momentarily glancing up, I saw a look on her face akin to a buck naked deer in the headlights as she stopped wiping down with a towel. For a minute I thought she was the weirdo girl who does kung fu moves by herself in the bathroom that told me she suspects the spider on the floor is a peeping pervert, but then I noticed this girl’s legs weren’t hairy, which is a glaring characteristic of Kung Fu Spider-Girl.

Anyway, she quickly tried to cover up with a towel and finish her drying procedures while I made my way to the locker, which of course was positioned directly next to the only other person in the locker room — naked grocery girl.

We both just went about our business and then thankfully someone else walked in, so my efforts to avoid conversation were quickly passed like a baton back to her.

But as I walked out to my car, I wondered how this would change our relationship. Would she still make awkward small talk if I went through her lane? Could I use this as blackmail those times she didn’t allow an old coupon?

I think I’ll just play it safe and choose a new lane. I just know too much at this point.

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Added Value

I’ve heard it said that in order to “build your brand” and become a bighugeimportantblogger that you should always make sure that your readers are given every opportunity to know about every minute thing that you’ve ever done in your Internet life.

So even though I’m a tiny little peon in the blogging world, I figured it was verysuperimportant that I send out a newsletter to my loyal readers (Hi, Mom!) In it you will find a recap of things that happened “behind the scenes”—added value!

  • First we’ll take a look at the minutes recorded from the first executive “Abby Has Issues” post planning and self-promotional tour meeting. What’s that? I’m being told we neither recorded minutes nor held that meeting, so we can cross that one off the list!
  • Speaking of lists, it was proposed that changing a “to-do” list to a “suggestions to be considered” list could leave one feeling more optimistic. This was immediately approved and implemented.
  • There was an unfortunate incident involving the vacuum and a cat toy. Long story short, I’m not winning “Cat Mom of the Year.” In an effort to reverse any bad karma, I spent the better part of that night leaving inspirational notes around for the cat: “You WILL catch that red dot” and “Hairballs happen to everyone!”
  • There was also trauma when I found a pile of feathers under my feeder when I got home from work. Let this be a reminder to hug your wild birds a little bit tighter tonight.
  • An ethnic cooking demonstration was given in the kitchen, if by “ethnic” you mean “Cajun” and by “Cajun” you mean “burned.”On a related note, the smoke detector is in perfect working condition.
  • An evaluation of laundry on Sunday revealed another pretty big week for gray T-shirts and white sports socks, so keep up the good work!
  • In terms of relationship status, the last two things I’ve spooned were a pillow and a jar of sunflower seed butter. However, Hot Gym Guy, obviously smitten by the smell of garlic emanating from my pores, asked me if I, “was done with that bench.” I might be reading a bit too much into it, but I’m sending out wedding invitations next week.
  • Oh, and I also overheard a 20-year-old girl at the gym say, “I feel so old!” The crime scene is still under investigation, so if anyone asks I was here the whole time.
  • Things did perk up though when I saw a guy pushing a “pull” door several times. Instead of helping him, I said, “Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live.” He was quite an inspiration.
  • I celebrated a birthday and capped off the evening by going to the grocery store, because hey! It was my birthday! And because it was Thursday. I always go to the store on Thursday.
  • On the work front, it was business as usual. I made it until lunch every day without eating my lunch before lunch, so I would consider this week to have been a success.
  • However, my attempts to “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” were frowned upon. Apparently showing up in a tiara and tutu isn’t quite what they meant. The policy has since been changed.

I think that pretty much sums things up—at least the most important points—so stay tuned for future updates! After all, you don’t want to miss a thing!

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(I updated the tab to include the new best-seller, a book I’m totally mooching off the success of the other authors with. Thanks to everyone for their support!)

A Natural Reaction

For every action, there is an equal and opposite overreaction, usually by me.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve realized that I’m great in situations that don’t directly involve me on a primary level. Whereas other people freak out, I remain calm and collected. For example:

Situation: Stepdad cut off part of his finger while using the snow blower a few years ago.

Others: He (understandably) came yelling into the house holding his house-of-horrors hand. Mom (who will deny this) freaked out and started running around while the two of them talked over each other and wasted precious time.

Me: Calmly called 911 and described the emergency while also getting ice ready for the “stub” (if found,) ripping up his Mensa application and Googling “How to Reattach a Fingertip for Dummies” and a recipe for a new vegan cheesecake.

Because it wasn’t my finger and wouldn’t impair my ability to eat or do something of equal importance, I was fine. But there are still those “rare” days when something will happen and on a scale of 1-10 in the crazy department, I come in at about “Lindsay Lohan.”

Situation: A summer thunderstorm.

Others: Some sit on the porch and watch the storm roll in while others go about their business in a normal fashion.

Me: OH MY GOD! We’re going to lose power and all of my food will go bad, not to mention that I’ll miss the ballgame and can’t even go on Twitter to complain that we’re going to lose power! (All of this is said while trying to fit into the Thundershirt my mom has for her 13-lb dog.)

Situation: I send an email, text, etc. or put up a blog post and don’t immediately get a reply.

Others: Probably forget that they sent/posted it and simply go on with their lives.

Me: Fail to realize that not everyone is as OCD as me, and that they might be busy with “social lives” or whatever. Instead, I assume they hate me and are creating a Voodoo doll of my likeness instead of replying to email or reading my blog (If you are creating a doll though, please embellish the boobs quite a bit. I’ll totally buy it from you.)

Situation: Notice that the Kleenex box in my bathroom actually matches the bathroom.

Others: Would never notice this in the first place.

Me: Sigh deeply, realizing that now I can never use the last Kleenex in that box because it perfectly matches the interior of the bathroom and that moment might never happen again.

Situation: A winter ice storm/blizzard.

Others: Some people enjoy the view with a cup of hot cocoa while others go about their business in a normal fashion.

Me: OH MY GOD! We’re going to lose power and I’ll freeze, not to mention that I’ll miss the hockey game and can’t even go on Twitter to complain that we’re going to lose power! (All of this is said while trying to create a blankie fort by preemptive candlelight.)

Situation: Hot gym guy says, “Are you done using this bench?”

Others: Tell hot gym guy if they’re done using that bench.

Me: Translate that to mean, “I don’t even care that right now you smell like IcyHot and have what is either avocado or a booger on your shirt. I think we should run away together somewhere warm and perfect our slow-motion “Baywatch” jog.

Situation: Hot gym guy says, “Abby, remember the restraining order?”

Others: Well, they probably stay away at least 100 yards.

Me: Translate that to mean, “I don’t even care that right now you smell like IcyHot and have what is either avocado or a booger on your shirt. I think we should run away together somewhere warm and perfect our slow-motion “Baywatch” jog.

So as you can see, I’m actually quite a rational person if you sever a limb, suffer a natural disaster a safe distance away from my house or need instruction on how to create a weather shelter cocoon out of catnip-laced blankets.


Ahem. Carry on.

13 Gym Tips for 2013

If you belong to a gym, you know the New Years crowd will soon descend upon the facility. Machines will be busy, the parking lot will be full and for a good two months the place will swell with momentary motivation, testosterone and a lingering scent of body odor.


Those who stick around will soon become initiated with certain people and unspoken rules of the gym. And while I’ve talked about this before, it bears repeating as the new crowd looms large.

So if you’re new to the gym scene, here’s a stereotypical primer.

  1. Some women will primp before the gym and then walk around without actually lifting a weight. Remind them that telling everyone about their fitness plan won’t make them healthier unless they’re doing it door to door — they love that.
  2. With men, you may see Hammer pants and fanny packs paired stylishly with weight belts and wrestling shoes. Do not be alarmed! This is apparently a conscious decision on the part of the “bodybuilder” and any attempts to suggest otherwise will be frowned upon.
  3. Outbursts and primal grunting are perfectly accepted and often encouraged with statements like, “You got this!” and “Lift that shit!” Interject your own encouragement like “Hugs not drugs!”— they love that.
  4. Chit chat may occur, but only when the other person is resting in between sets. If you are in the middle of an exercise, plan on someone asking you a question completely unrelated and irrelevant.
  5. If you’re anything like me, Sundays at the gym will consist of 50 percent of people talking about how hungover they are, 49 percent of people pretending to listen and you.
  6. People will be wearing iPods and the like, oblivious to the fact that if they sing, we can hear them. Join in — it’s fun for all!
  7. People will write things down. They will do one set of pull-downs and after flexing in the mirror to admire the results of those eight reps of awesomeness, they will record it in their little notebook. Ask them if they’re writing a haiku — the look on their face will be priceless.
  8. Men will voluntarily shave things women hate to shave.
  9. Most gyms have the hard core guys that know days of the week not by Monday or Tuesday but by Leg Day and Shoulder Blow-Out Bonanza sessions. Most gyms also have a group of older women that meet in the morning and get most of their exercise from running their mouths and fueling the rumor mills. Do not mess with their coffee.
  10. Do not stare directly at someone using the inner/outer thigh machine who is wearing shorts. It’s like staring at the sun—you will not love this.
  11. There will be stalkers. People will hover around and wait for your piece of equipment or cardio machine despite the fact that there are a plethora of other options they could be using. Make loud noises or begin singing to buy yourself a few extra sets.
  12. People in the parking lot will also stalk you for a closer parking spot, even though that defeats the purpose of going to the gym. Chances are it’s not a cardio day, and therefore not something written down in the notebook.
  13. And finally, the sweatier and grosser you get at the gym, the more people you will run into when you stop to the store immediately after. However, ducking in and out of the aisles with your cart and sprinting to the register can also count as cardio. 

It’s really a win all around.

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A Day in the Life

Sometimes I envy bloggers who live super exciting lives filled with travel and social engagements that make for great stories. Then I remember that I don’t really enjoy traveling and only like being social in limited doses, so that envy gets wiped away with my Wet Jet on “Swiffer Saturday.”


But I thought I would humor myself and the dozens who read this with a hypothetical “day in the life” post.*

*Some of the logistics are a bit fuzzy, but that’s only because the day was so full and enriching that details fell by the wayside. Or maybe it’s because of the Vodka. Don’t judge.

5 a.m. Alarm rings for work.

5:01 a.m. Remember I’m working from home, seeing as I got that great gig writing a “Dear Abby”-type column. Throw alarm across the room.

8 a.m. Wake up again on my own.

8: 15 a.m. Remind hot hockey player boy toy to lock the door as he leaves. Thank him for his services the night before (I could never have cleaned the gutters on my roof without his help.)

8:30 a.m. Be grateful I can wake up and do exactly what I love—eat—and do just that, enjoying the first of many feedings for the day. 

8:45 a.m. Go online. Read that the Tigers have continued their 82-game winning streak and see my inbox is filled with fan mail, freelance writing opportunities that require minimal thinking/maximum pay and coupons for all my favorite products.

9 a.m. Work out. Learn that anyone—male or female—who marinates in perfume, refuses to wipe off the machine or wears shorts so short and tight they would be considered in bad taste at a gay Mardi Gras parade will be asked to leave.


10 a.m. Go home to shower and snack. Delight in the fact that for once, my hair doesn’t make me look homeless.

10:30 a.m. Flip on the big screen TV. Discover reality shows involving dating and entertainment “news” are all cancelled. Forever.

11 a.m. Forget to be productive.

11:30 a.m. Jump in the car and speed out to meet Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell for lunch at a great vegan restaurant.

11:35 a.m. Celebrate the local police department honoring National “Give Only a Warning” Day and avoid a ticket.

Noon Enjoy lunch. Laugh a lot. Forget to offer to pay.

12: 30 p.m. Learn anyone who starts their tweets “That moment that…” or uses more than two hashtags per tweet has been banned from Twitter. Smile.

1 p.m. Serve as a guest judge for a veggie episode of “Chopped” where I pull my best Gordon Ramsey impression and throw things around the set.

2 p.m. Get offered a full-time position with the show.

2:30 p.m. Go on a shopping spree through Trader Joes on the Food Network tab—I had that written into my contract—and hop on a plane for Detroit.

3:30  p.m. Actually answer my phone and hear that my lawsuit against Comcast for emotional distress has been settled for millions.

4 p.m. This announcement becomes public and I learn I’ve become Queen to the millions of people who have suffered similar psychological damage via Comcast.

Request tiara.

5 p.m. Arrive in Detroit for dinner with Buster Olney and Scott VanPelt (ESPN people). Talk a lot of sports. Forget to offer to pay.

6 p.m. Agree to co-write several features with Buster for “Baseball Tonight” before taking my seat at the game.

9 p.m. Celebrate Tiger victory and head home, snacking and sipping a Vodka gimlet on the plane with Eminem while discussing how badass I look in my tiara . (Or how I went the whole day without realizing a dryer sheet was stuck in the leg of my pants. Again, the details are fuzzy.)

10:00 p.m. Arrive home, forget to floss and hit the hay. After all, tomorrow is still “Swiffer Saturday.”

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This begs the question, “If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?”

To be honest, I probably couldn’t decide and would end up staying home to eat in my dining room while watching a bird gang bang under my bird feeder, but whatever. Play along.