Saturday, October 29, 2005

Five Things

1. Another Saturday, another walking tour. This time to Mount Zion. We saw Dormition Abbey, King David's Tomb, the room of the Last Supper...

2. My current jeans wardrobe consists of two pairs of Old Navy size 12Short that are too loose, one pair of Old Navy size 10Short that is tight on the quads and perfect everywhere else and one pair of Jacob jeans that were size 13/14, but I got taken in and now they fit. Since wearing clothes that are too loose is a sure way to grow back into them, I bought a pair of jeans on Friday with an eye to getting rid of the 12s. Cost was 130 NIS, which is about $28 USD, and I’ll get a second pair if they make it through the wash.

3. Friday afternoon I went to the market for green peppers, red peppers, bananas, granny smith apples and pickled herring. I ran into one of the gym regulars, who said the gym will re-open on Tuesday. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Expect some chortling in my joy on Tuesday if it does indeed open. Probably followed by some groans of pain, but why dwell on that in advance, eh?

4. I found the Monster Name Decoder via Skwigg's. Here’s what it said:

Maiden-Injuring Creature of Hostility

Maiden-injuring? Sheesh. I AM a maiden. Actually, at my age old maid is probably more accurate. :-)

5. The best thing about having web stats is finding interesting blogs via the referrals page. For example, View From the Porch, who has two great posts (here's the first, and here's the second) about people making assumptions about what she knows or doesn’t know, simply because she is a woman.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wedding Report

The wedding was at Caesarea, right on the shore, which is a beautiful place to have a wedding. Luckily, we made it in time for the ceremony. We ran into serious traffic jams due to the Hadera suicide bombing; police had set up roadblocks to try and catch the terrorist's helpers, and forty plus ambulances had been scrambled from the cities surrounding Hadera to transport the wounded to hospital.

I wore a black skirt and sleeveless brown and black top; neither was new, but I have never worn them together before. It turned out to be a wise choice. I was cold during the outdoor ceremony, but perfectly dressed for lots and lots of energetic dancing. Which there was, both separate Jewish religious dancing (women around the bride, men around the groom), and mixed dancing to pop tunes.

Food was yummy and unproblematic. There were little food stations around the hall and guests went up to get whatever they wanted. By the time I went up to get food, post-dancing, there were no line-ups. I had grilled fish with a side of brussel sprouts and green beans, a salad, and a small steak with one potato slice alongside. For dessert I had a couple of grapes. I didn't feel like anything else. I also had one alcoholic drink at the start of the evening, a mango-strawberry frozen concoction.

Many well-meaning people come up to me and to my unmarried cousins and wished us "b'karov etzlech", which is basically, "May it soon be you [getting married]". At one point I joked to another cousin that if I hear that phrase one more time I will pick up the speaker and toss them into the sea. But I refrained. :-)

Another sign of change: I didn't avoid the photographers. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures from this wedding.

So, holidays are done, wedding is done, eating out is done, and life can get back to normal.

Iran and Free Piglet

You know, once upon a time Persia actually had great leaders. Now Iran has President Ahmadinejad, who announced that Israel will be wiped off the map. Someone needs to tell him that, asKinky Freedman and the Texas Jewboys sang: "They ain't making Jews like Jesus anymore; they don't turn the other cheek the way they'd done before."

I'm a little late in linking this, but it is too good not to link. Some people in Britain have decided to ban Piglet. I'm not sure which of the Free Piglet buttons I like best. :-) Also see Mark Steyn's commentary on this nonsense.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Used to Disappointment

I am 23 lbs away from my body weight goal of 124 lbs. Not as close to my lifting goals, but I'm getting there. The only reason I chose 124 lbs, by the way, is that my heaviest recorded weight was 194 lbs and it will amuse me to be able to say some day, nonchalantly, "I lost 70lbs".

I'm calm about this forced out-of-the-gym time. I haven't always been this calm about non-gym time. In fact, I've previously approached it with resignation, with an "it's all over, may as well give up and hit the food" attitude. Over and over, I got myself used to disappointment.

So what changed?

In April 2004, when I found out I'd been accepted to the MA program and that I'd be in Israel for two years, I weighed 187 lbs. I decided that by the time I graduated I would be strong and healthy. No way was I was going into a teaching career fat and weak. I believe that teachers must be role models on multiple levels; my future students deserve a teacher who is eating healthy and exercising daily, not a desk slug.

Fortuitously, John Berardi, whose articles I have been reading since the first one showed up on the t-mag web site back in 2000 or so, chose the spring of 2004 to open a company in TO. My initial reaction was, why TO?. My subsequent reaction was, who the hell cares? E-mail and find out more. So I did. Shortly thereafter I met Trainer #3.

I had worked out with personal trainers before. Around 1998-9 I worked out with Trainer #1. It was not a successful endeavor; I thought T1 was good at the time, even wrote him a letter of recommendation at one point, but in retrospect, I didn't know enough to recognize what was good and what was not, and he had a set program in his head and didn't really listen to what I wanted to accomplish. In the interest of fairness I should say that I was not as clear and insistent as I could have been, and personal trainers, just like doctors or hairstylists, are not mind readers.

In 2001-2002 I worked out with Trainer #2. He knew his stuff, and he listened when I told him I wanted to squat and deadlift and get stronger, and that I didn't care about my weight. In retrospect, his programs could have been better designed. We did squats, but no deadlifts beyond stiff legged ones. T2 gets credit for getting me to trust myself under the bar and to worry less. I was going through some very difficult times at work back then, which I thought was an excellent excuse for eating badly. (A new boss came in, and if you know the part in the book of Exodus about a new Pharaoh in Egypt who did not know Joseph... 'nuff said). I had to stop working with T2 because he moved on to open his own successful fitness centre. I would not hesitate to recommend him. Again, in the interest of fairness, there's only so much you can do when your client works her butt off in the gym, but picks up a Haagen-Dasz container on the way home from the gym and eats the entire thing in one sitting.

So that brings me to my time with T3, Ryan. I told him we had four months before I leave the country and that I wanted to get stronger and lift heavy. Miracle of miracles, he listened to what I wanted and and designed a program to do just that. Four different programs, actually; we changed programs every four weeks. When I started with him I weighed 187 lbs and four months later I weighed 171 lbs. My body fat measurements (calipers) went from 37% to under 30%. Most importantly, I became unrelenting about going to the gym five times per week. I also discovered that I always had more strength in me, even when I thought I had nothing left. Often I would finish a set, and Ryan would snap "another", and then "another", and two more reps would come out of nowhere. Ryan, if you're reading this, I can still hear you in my head when I lift.

At our last meeting, when we did the final measurements, Ryan told me "If you ever get your nutrition in gear, weight would fall off". He was right. But to get to the point where getting my nutrition in gear is important to me I had to gain the muscle first. I think this is why all my previous weight loss attempts had failed. I liked food. I enjoyed food. I used food for everything except the purpose for which it was intended - nourishing my body. The only reason for me to change my eating habits is because I derive more pleasure from lifting heavy than I did from stuffing my face.

Ryan also made me aware of how much negative stuff I was telling myself all the time. Other people had told me this before (hi, sis!), but I didn't listen. I finally clued in one day, when I was getting ready to squat a new weight and Ryan asked me if I was ready to go. I answered with one of my favourite quotes from the Princess Bride, "Get used to disappointment". Well, Ryan had never seen the Princess Bride, and he went ballistic. "That's the dumbest statement I've ever heard!" he said. Ok, he may have used stronger language than that. And you know what? He was right. Getting used to disappointment is stupid, and I've been doing it consistently for years, and never giving it a second thought.

It wasn't cheap. I depleted a substantial chunk of my savings working out 5 times a week with a personal trainer. But it was worth every damn penny. Considering what some people spend on cosmetics, clothes, or kitchen gadgets, or even on specialty coffee, it is the wisest use I have ever made of my money, period. My inner capitalist shudders when I think of how much money I wasted over the past twenty years, stuffing myself as a method of dealing with emotional issues.

On August 16, 2004 I moved to Israel. I went from working out five times a week to daily walking with a laptop and books on my back. Here's the interesting thing. In the seven months I was without a gym, I gained 3 lbs. That's it. They have Haagen Dazs here, I could have bought it and eaten it and I could have easily gained all of the weight back, but I didn't want to. My body had changed, my mind had changed, and my attitude had changed.

I started this blog, and I found a gym, and I told the man-in-charge of this gym exactly what I had told Ryan when I first met him. I am not here to tone, to lose weight, or to fit into a dress. I am here to gain muscle and get stronger and lift heavy. You design a program to help me do that, and I will take care of the rest.

So he did. And I have. And I am looking forward to doing so during this final stretch, and the new goals that lie beyond.


I went to see Tango Seduccion at the Jerusalem Theatre last night. It was beautiful and my seat was fifth row centre :-). My favourite piece was the second dance after the intermission, called El bailarin y el tiempo I, Dancer and the Time I, with two male dancers, Gustavo Russo and Omar Cacerez. The audience didn't seem to take to that one as they did to the rest of the show, but I thought it was absolutely stunning. I also loved all the pieces that were done by the entire troupe. Their website doesn't mention any North American tour dates, but I hope I get a chance to see them again.


I'm not an American, but I spent much of yesterday thinking about the passing of Ms. Parks. Bear with me here, this does have a connection to the theme of this blog, which is making massive and permanent changes in one's life. And this is it: Changes don't come out of the blue. They don't happen instantly. There may be a liminal moment, but it is preceded by years of hard work.

And as always when I think about Ms. Parks, I think of Claudette Colvin, because courage is courage even when it doesn't get press.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sweet Potatoes

I'm working on a post about negative thinking, staying calm and personal trainers. In the meantime, here's a picture of sweet potatoes and roasted garlic, served as a side dish at the (non-kosher) Bolinat restaurant on Dorot Rishonim Street in Jerusalem.

Monday, October 24, 2005


See, the place really is called Coffee Shop.

I'm at the one at the corner of Emek Refaim Street and Rahel Imenu Streets, doing my pedagogy homework, which I did not finish last night.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Taking an afternoon break at Coffee Shop, waiting for my fellow student M to show up so we can check out an Ethiopian restaurant in town. I haven't had injera in a while so I am looking forward to it. Then I'm going to go home and do my Pedagogy homework which is due on Thursday, and then I will go to bed early.

Way too much time wasted today. I had no luck finding a blouse for the wedding, and I went to several shops. I think I will just put something together from what I have. Really, I don't want to spend money on new clothes when I know (yes, I said know) that I'm not going to stay at this size, and by the time another joyous event rolls around this blouse will be of no use to me unless I spend even more money to get it altered. This is pointless.

Went by the gym this morning. There are signs of progress. For one thing, there's a floor, except that it isn't actually on the floor, but instead is standing in great big rolls waiting to be unrolled and installed. To paraphrase a Shel Silverstein poem: "I wish that my gym had a floor"...

Note to Finding Muscles: Thanks for the tag and the good thoughts, but I was simultaneously tagged by Liz with that same meme. I'm not able to post a comment on your blog, so I'll put it here and hope you'll come for a visit. :-) I was reading through your blog and the link to Ebony reminded me of an article I read last week. One of the Israeli newspapers recently had a series of articles about black people in Nazi Germany. I can't remember which of the papers - I buy four of them on the weekend. One of the people mentioned in the article was Hans J. Massaquoi, who was one of Ebony's managing editors.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Post Saturday Thoughts

I did another walking tour this morning, and then wandered around on my own, so all together I got about four hours of walking in. On the one hand I was pleased with myself, because I was one of the few people not huffing and puffing. On the other hand, I'm still not getting anywhere close to the amount of exercise I was getting while the gym was open, so the ugly truth is that I am resting on my laurels here.

Looking for inspiration, I bought the November 2005 issue of Men's Health last week. It cost 36 NIS, which is $7.78 USD, just about double the cover price of $3.99 USD. Still, anytime there's a member of the military on the cover the issue is worth buying, and this issue had Cpl. Peter Sprenger on the cover. Need I say more? I should also mention that there's a good Berardi article in there about meal timing.

Liz is right; I'm not fond of memes, unless they are fun memes that make me think about books or music or something equally interesting. I am going to skip this one, since it requires me to look through old posts, and I would rather spend my time writing new posts.

On the to-do list for tomorrow: walk by gym and get an update on when it will reopen, buy a blouse to wear to the wedding, call my cousin to find out if I have a ride to and from said wedding, work on papers, establish push-up and sit-up benchmarks and goals.

Two posts that caught my attention this week:

First, Cap Lion is looking for a Lioness. I wish him luck. Contrary to my grumbling about having to sit through my cousin's wedding next week, I like weddings, and I like it when people are proactive about finding their Intended, as opposed to sitting around grumbling about their singlehood.

Second, Sound and Fury is having an interesting discussion with Accidental Hedonist about food and class. I agree with S&F on this one, which is not surprising considering that I admire Dr. Norman Borlaug.

Off to the supermarket to replenish the protein supplies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Excuses Excuses

It is cold and rainy in Jerusalem. Today was the first day that I had to wear long sleeves and a jacket to go out. Interestingly, when Sukkot ends next week, there’s a one day holiday called Shemini Atzeret, and on this holiday Jews start praying for a rainy winter in Israel. Israel definitely needs rain; can’t have milk and honey without rain. :-) On the other hand, brrrr! I need to buy a winter blanket asap.

Major holidays stress me out. In addition to this standard holiday stress I have the gym closure, PMS/TOM, university deadlines and the fact that next week I have to attend a wedding where various well-meaning relatives will give me the “soon it will be you, God-willing” speech. Not that I needed empirical proof of this stress, but I have it anyway; a cold sore the size of Manitoba appeared yesterday morning, fever blisters and all. Oy. Ow. Oy. I considered going out with a paper bag over my head but decided that this might alarm the security guards at the entrance of supermarkets and restaurants, not to mention on buses.

Monday night was lovely. I was wearing one of the skirts that I had gotten taken it, and it fit perfectly. The teacher that invited me has five kids, and whenever I visit her home I leave thinking that five kids is the perfect number to have; the kids are that cool. Dinner was fine nutritionally – chicken soup, grilled chicken and rice, roasted root vegetables, a salad, and a simple yet very yummy cake that one of the kids baked. I was fine on quantity; had a little bit of each item, but I completely fell apart on the drinks. Not alcohol, cola. There was no water on the table so I went for the Pepsi and Pepsi max in a big way. First time since June 13 that I had fizzy soft drinks. (The detail oriented reader will remember that June was another major holiday, Shavuot.)

Whew, what a litany of excuses. My exercise isn’t where it should be, my nutrition has had way too many slip-ups, but I’m calm about it, because I know holiday season doesn’t last forever, and I am almost done with meals outside the home. There are only two more such outings on the horizon: tomorrow evening I (and the rest of my class) have been invited to another teacher’s home for dinner, and then the following Thursday is the previously mentioned wedding.

Went to the market today and got Granny Smith apples, fresh ginger and flax seeds - now I just need a grinder for the flax seeds.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Gym Woes

Went by the gym last night. No way it can re-open before the end of October (barring some miracle). All the carpet has been ripped out, all the weights and machines are up against the far side of the gym, there's bare concrete and broken cement and dust everywhere. Picture your friendly neighbourhood construction site with some weight machines in a corner. :-)

*Sigh* This means I can't think of my out-of-the-gym exercise as "maintenance-until-gym-reopens". I have to start thinking of it as "real workouts for the forseeable future".

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Still Here

Gym was supposed to re-open Oct 12 but is still closed. Noone's answering the gym phone, either. I'm going to walk by there this evening and see if there's a new estimated opening date. I was expecting the renovations to run overtime, especially since this is holiday season in Jerusalem, but I am still annoyed. Not _at_ anyone, just annoyed that I am not in a city where there is more than one gym with a squat rack. :-) The upside (there's always an upside, no?) is that I am doing a lot of walking around Jerusalem, and getting to see historic buildings and old neighbourhoods, and doing push-ups. (Not during the walks, mind you.)

On Saturday morning I went on a walking tour of the Bukharan Neighbourhood. The municipality of Jerusalem has free walking tours every Saturday at 10:00am, one in English and one in Hebrew. The English one sounded more interesting this time, so that’s the one I went on. I’ll have to go back on a weekday and photograph the buildings; the neighbourhood is ultra-Orthodox and the community does not like people taking pictures in their space on the Sabbath. After the tour I wandered around the city some more on my own. All in all I had between four and five hours of walking.

This morning I went to the university to pick up my new health insurance policy, which came into effect on Oct 1. I also bought some school supplies. Now I'm taking a blogging break at Coffee Shop, and trying to come up with an idea for a hostess gift. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins tomorrow night and one of my teachers from last year has invited me to have dinner with her family in their Sukkah. I haven't decided what to bring. Last year I sent flowers to all my holiday hosts, but this year I'm thinking either a massive coffee table book, or a gift basket of handmade soap and scented shower gels and such, things that busy and sensible people don't buy for themselves, but do not object if other people buy for them.

Speaking of Sukkot, everywhere you go in Jerusalem you see the little huts, and kosher restaurants build them on their patios so that their observant clients can eat their meals in the Sukka. There are also people selling decorations for the Sukka - think tinsel, lots of tinsel... :-) I'm going to try and take some pics tomorrow morning and post them before the holiday begins.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hanging by a Thread

I'm writing this from Coffee Shop at the corner of Emek Refaim and Rahel Imenu streets. Yeah, the coffee shop is indeed called Coffee Shop. I tried to work at my apartment but there was noise from one of the nearby buildings that sounded like a leaf-blower gone beserk.

Swamped with schoolwork. Hanging on to the most generous definition of good nutrition - protein, veggies and water - by a thread. Exercise limited to walks with backpack and gripper work. Sheesh, just writing that makes me want to slap myself and go do ab work. Life should return to normal on Friday, once I'm past Yom Kippur, university orientation, etc. God willing the gym will re-open on the 12th as scheduled. I'm not weighing in till Nov 1, in case you're wondering what's up with the stats.

Ate too many carbs over the weekend, but also went to the Old City and walked a lot. Of the 30 eggs I mentioned on Friday, 20 have been hard-boiled and are sitting in the fridge waiting to be consumed, so I have enough egg whites for the next couple of days. I have tuna, I have veggies, and my local supermarket has a handy veggie-chopper (looks like this one only more compact) on sale for 70NIS, which is around $15 US. I have visions of homemade hummus in my head.

Blogging will be sparse till Friday. In the meantime, here is a pic of light play on the floor of St. Andrew's Scots Memorial Church, which is located on David Remez street in Jerusalem.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Have Broomstick, Will Squat

Yesterday I went to the Jerusalem Theatre to buy tickets for two upcoming shows, Pilobolus and Tango Seduccion. I also went to the Jerusalem Symphony box office and got a 6-concert student card for 150NIS; you call on the day of the concert you want to see if there are tickets left, and if there are you get assigned a seat. On my way out of the theatre I ran into one of the gym regulars, and we commiserated for a few minutes about the closure.

My long-suffering readers must be getting tired of hearing me whine about the fact that my gym is closed for renovations, but it is remarkable how central the daily workout has become in my life. Working out at home is just not the same. The only thing that has been consistent is walking with a heavy backpack and using my grippers. The morning walk to school has been good, but there were the two days we were off for the holiday. Today I got in a good walk, but that was by chance. I went to the market where I met one of my classmates. She was having trouble with her grocery cart, so we unloaded some of her stuff into my backpack and then I walked her to her home.

While I was at the market I bought a wooden broomstick (7 NIS), which is not going to be used as a broomstick but rather as a sophisticated fitness device :-) with which I will practice overhead squat technique. My modest goal for these is to be able to do them with the regular bar before I go back to North America. I didn't tell the guy at the market what I wanted the broomstick for, and he was giving me weird looks as I put the broomstick over my head and pulled at it to see if it was strong enough. He asked me if I was going to beat someone up and I asked him if I looked to him like a violent person... I also got 30 eggs, which are sitting in my room until I have a chance to rearrange some stuff in the fridge and make room for them.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I learned something last week. It is possible for me to have a good workout in the early morning. Last Thursday I woke up at 4:40am and had breakfast, packed for the field trip, and then went to the gym for the last workout before renovations. I got to the gym at 6:25am and it was still closed. Since I had to be out of the gym by 8:05am, I decided to use those five mintues to change clothes and warm up in the stairwell. At 6:28am ShoulderGuy showed up to open the gym, and I was ready to go. To save a few more minutes I had asked man-in-charge to give me my max weights the night before, and I had written out the weights (50%, 80%, 100%) for the first three sets of each exercise in my workout log, leaving space for reps and the last exercises.

I was a little stressed about getting through everything, which caused some confusion on my first exercise (BB bicep curls). Instead of 1 x 7 @ 10 Kg, 1 x 7 @ 16 Kg, 1 x 8 @ 20 Kg for my first three sets I ended up with 1 x 7 @ 10 Kg, 1 x 7 @ 18.5 Kg, and 1 x 7 @ 20 Kg. Meaning, doing the middle set at 93% of the 3rd instead of at 80% cost me the final rep on my max set. I did the last two sets at 1 x 8 @ 16.5 Kg and 1 x 8 @ 15 Kg. The DB bicep curls went well, as did all the ab work in between the sets. I relaxed at 7:07am when I got to deadlifts, because I knew at that point that I would get everything in.

The gym is very quiet at that hour of the morning. Around 6:45am people began trickling in, but not many. At its busiest I counted four or five older people who did a bit of weights and then got on the two treadmills and the recumbent bike and stayed there. Now I know that someone actually uses the cardio machines. :-)

This is encouraging because once my university classes kick in on Oct 31 I won't be able to get to the gym on Monday nights, and now I have no excuse not to do a Monday morning workout instead.

I hate the fact that my gym is closed. I feel like I was perfectly balanced on a three legged chair (gym, food, sleep), and someone cut out a leg when I wasn't looking, and now I'm about to topple.

The holiday set up of Rosh Hashana is hardly conducive to good nutritional habits. You have two days with at least four big festive meals, followed by a minor fast day, the Fast of Gedalia. I managed to keep the food under control by accepting invites only from people I knew served healthy food and who lived far away from me - necessitating a 45 minute walk there and a 45 minute walk back.

Unfortunately I also, at the last minute, accepted a lunch invitation for the 2nd day from my food-pushing cousin. I didn't cave in to the pressure, which manifested itself as endless repetitions of "Eat, eat, this can't stay overnight, eat eat I don't want to have leftovers in my fridge, eat eat", but I did come home incredibly annoyed. Not good. Note to self #1: do not accept invitations from people who think that it is their business how much you eat. Note to self #2: if you ever have to visit this cousin for a meal again, bring storage containers as a present instead of flowers or wine.

I went to bed early (10:00pm) and woke up early (6:00am). I'm going to try and make a habit of this, with a half hour variation either way. Because of the fast we only have a half day of school today, so I can get some work done on my papers in the afternoon.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Carnival of Health and Fitness #3

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Carnival of Health & Fitness! Very few posts came in this week (hey, this is a fledgling carnival just learning to fly!), but I went out and read through a slew of fitness, health and lifting blogs to find posts I liked. Thank goodness for wireless internet; I am writing this from the Coffee Mill on Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem, Israel.

The pictures interspersed throughout are from my gym, which is currently closed for renovations *sob*. When it re-opens it will look a little different, but one thing will not change, and that is my favourite piece of equipment, the squat rack.

On to the Carnival...

At House of Nan, a short and simple but oh so to the point post about waffling. (Hat tip: Marla at Someday is Now).

Speaking of Marla, go and read her Tales of a Male, a Scale and A Sale if you haven't already. I sometimes think that all scales should come with a little sticker; "abandon hope all ye who step on me".

Read Eat Sleep talks about Food Choices, and that all important question: "What Can I Eat?"

Slim Spirited explains why Food Will Not Make It Better. It is the story of an Aha! moment; she chose not to resolve an emotional problem with food since, if hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution.

Chaos in Oneself stares herself down in a post simply entitled Look. As I've said before, I think she is writing found poetry with the titles of her posts. Check out her list of titles to see what I mean.

I was struck by a post at the Fatslayer Chronicles: all about lying about one's weight to people who, quite frankly, probably don't give a darn. Why was I struck by this post? Because just this week three people asked me how much weight I've lost, and I told them, straight out, without even thinking twice about it. (I still think that telling people how much I lift is best done in the gym... I wonder if I will get over that at some point.)

The Born Again Gym Bunny writes eloquently on lack of motivation. What is motivation and what is plain common sense? Go read and find out. When I read her article I thought about (of all things) the opening credits to Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Anyone remember that show? To paraphrase, "I don't do motivation, I'm a lifter, that's who I am, that's what I do"...

I've had that Northern Pikes song, She Ain't Pretty She Just Looks That Way in my head all week, and I think it was triggered by reading about the inverse relationship between muscle and makeup over at Caustic Musings. And to illustrate this point further, here's a picture of some weight plates which may not be pretty but are perfectly functional all the same.

Found a description of an interesting exercise at Working Out for Health. Anyone out there doing these in their program right now?

Since one of my dreams is to one day enter a powerlifting competition, I was inspired by Lift n'Learn's account of his first meet. He acquitted himself well and met two of his goals - nice!

I am not anywhere near the level for such experiments (one day, one day), but I like reading posts like this one at the Reinvention Tour. Bet you didn't know "ploomp" was a technical term...

Commercial Sites: The people behind T-Nation launched a web site for their new product which is aimed at women and said web site has a lot of good articles. If you read T-Mag regularly you'll recognize most of the authors and some of the articles. At Elite Fitness Systems I found an article about ACL injuries in young female athletes.

Oldie but Goodie: I've had this in my Bookmarks forever. At ThinkMuscle, Elzi Volk's article Planet Estrogen III: The Menstrual Cycle and Athletic Performance.

Tonight is the eve of Rosh Hashana, so I'm going to be away from the blog for two days celebrating Jewish New Year. I wish all of you a year of good health, good food and good friends. May we all have such amazing grip strength that we do not need to use the deadlift straps shown in the picture above, and may we all realise our dreams, especially if said dreams include a power cage and a glute-ham raise machine in a refinished basement... :-)

You can read the Carnival submission guidelines here. Check out the previous editions: #1 and #2. Next week's edition will be at Weight on Me.