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My Insanity Max 30 Adventure Part I: What Have I Done?

If you’re younger than 25, Spoiler Alert! Your metabolism is going to start to slow down! It’s a bit of a slow process. You won’t notice it until you put on your jeans that have always fit well and realize OMG, you have a muffin top! Or if you’re a lady, perhaps it’ll be the day you look in the mirror before putting on your shirt and realize you’re starting to grow a set of back tits. Now I’m not knocking people of size. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, that’s awesome. Do your thing.

On the other hand if you’re like me and you don’t feel like you can pull off a muffin top or make a set of back tits look sexy, you start exercising. If you’re like me you also hate exercising because it can be boring, frustrating, and hard to get results. My advice: give yourself a goal and write it down, or better yet tell a friend or family member. Studies have shown that when you write your goals down, you’re 42% more likely to achieve them, but when you tell a friend or family member you’re 78% more likely to achieve them. Just be careful to pick someone supportive and encouraging, not someone who will judge you.

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Me prior to my muffin top epiphany, pre-injury, and blissfully unaware of what an Insanity workout even looks like

My goal is to run a 5K. I started running three times a week and lifting twice a week. Of course like the stubborn Irish bitch I am, I didn’t consult my doctor beforehand and injured my lower back. I ignored it for weeks causing it to get worse because I’m a freakin’ genius. Coming back from an injury is a freakin’ roller coaster ride. I don’t know how professional athletes do it. I suspect by having more physical grace than a drunk giraffe; unlike myself.

After spending a lot of time, energy, and money I finally started to get close to where I was prior to my injury. In fact, I’m actually better than I was when I started. Then I hit a plateau. Anyone who’s ever trained for something and hit a plateau can tell you how frustrating that is. I did a lot of swearing. I at least had the decency to wait until I had left the gym and gotten into my car before I let loose. I’m still welcome at the gym, but the guy who was parked next to me looked pretty appalled. That was awkward.

I asked around and found out that a change in my training routine was in order. My boyfriend was doing the Insanity Max 30 workout videos with Shaun T. When he suggested that I try it, I told him he was nuts. Then the idea started to grow on me like a goiter or a boil. Out of morbid curiosity I decided to give it a try. Having watched my boyfriend complete all 60 days and seeing the sheer amount of sweat and some of the moves I knew I had to prepare. I got myself a good pair of cross trainers since it’s generally a bad idea to wear running sneakers to do something other than running or walking and given the number of workouts per week and the amount of sweat I had witnessed I invested in more sports bras. Day 1 was the Cardio Challenge. I was ready and determined. I was good to go.

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Me, post-Cardio Challenge lying on the floor trying to stay positive

No the hell I wasn’t! Folks, I haven’t had an ass-whooping like that since my mother cracked me with a wooden spoon when I was like 4. Morbid curiosity damn near killed this cat. I have two words to describe what I went through: Holy and crap. I poured so much sweat that my swamp ass had swamp ass. Girls don’t sweat, they glow my sweet petootie. Those girls have never tried an Insanity workout and yes, dammit I did the modifier because I am not doing jumpy up and downy things with my jacked up spine. You wanna fight about it?

I worked, but I felt good about it and because Shaun T’s a good motivator. He owns Tony Horton in every possible way. There I said it. I tried P90X when it came out and I found Tony Horton so annoying that by Day 3 I wanted to kick him in the nuts so hard his ancestors would roll over. To this day the sound of his voice makes me foam at the mouth. I heard it last week and I had to be given a chew toy to calm me down and redirect my attention. My mentality about trainers is if I like you, you’re not doing your job. If my fiery hatred is any indication, Tony Horton absolutely did his job. He just wasn’t my cup of tea. Shaun T is more upbeat and seems genuinely happy that you have successfully stuck a disc in a player and used your opposable thumb to press play. Unlike Tony Horton, he lets you see him fail. He admits that he’s tired and it makes him come across as more human. And yes, folks he’s doing his job because he would be appalled at my impolite suggestions for the horse he rode in on. Yet, I can’t entirely hate him. I hate burpees and tricep dips, but not him.

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Me at Day 15 and look! I’m standing!

I’ve completed up to Day 15, so I’m about 1/4 of the way through. So far, I’ve gained a new appreciation for staying hydrated. My blood would’ve congealed by now with the amount of sweat that’s poured out of me. I also have a much closer relationship with my heating pad. It’s truly a beautiful friendship. As I continue I’ll be sure to share my progress, because thus far it’s been an experience. Also if you happen to know who invented the burpee, please drop me a line. I have a few words for that bastard.

Making the Beautiful Game More Beautiful

Gender equality has been a big topic recently. Emma Watson brought it to the UN. It’s been brought up during nearly every Presidential debate. It’s even hit the world of sports, particularly soccer (or what the rest of the world calls football). On International Women’s Day, soccer’s international governing body, FIFA held a conference on Women in Leadership that was well-attended and well-received. Most recently, five members of the US Women’s National Team have filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of the team demanding equal pay for equal play.

 

There’s an opportunity here to make what is recognized the world over as the beautiful game even more beautiful. I don’t mean on an aesthetic level based on the looks of female players. Grow up, children. We have an opportunity to be on the right side of history. In 2016, women in the workplace still receive lower pay than their male counterparts. There are also fewer women in leadership roles. Women are 45% of the overall S&P 500 labor force. Yet, women are only 25% of executive and senior-level officials and managers, only 19% of board of director seats and only 4.6% of CEOs. (Source: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2015/08/04/118743/the-womens-leadership-gap/) Sorry to burst your bubble folks, but in 2016 America, the Gender Gap is still a thing.

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Our 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning USWNT

What does this have to do with soccer? Let’s compare the playing conditions. The FIFA World Cup held in 2014 in Brazil was played entirely on natural grass fields. The FIFA Women’s World cup held in 2015 in Canada was played entirely on artificial turf fields. Natural grass has repeatedly proven to be a superior playing surface. Studies have also shown a potential correlation between artificial turf and the development of cancer later in life. Perhaps more suspicious than that last tidbit was the, “But grass is hard to grow in Canada,” argument used by FIFA and Canadian officials for why artificial turf was being used. No games were scheduled to be played in the arctic areas of the country and I wasn’t aware that Canada’s climate had changed so drastically that it became a freakin’ desert. Quick! Someone call Al Gore! I smell a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth!

When the players and the fans saw through that load of fertilizer, the story changed to, “It’s too expensive to grow grass in Canada.” Every good liar knows that you never change your story. Amateurs! Were we supposed to forget all about the untold sum of money that FIFA had sitting in its pocket after the World Cup in Brazil? Scott’s even offered to lay sod over the turf and send people and products to care for it absolutely free. The beautiful pitch that would’ve undoubtedly resulted would’ve been an advertisement on its own. When presented with the ultimate win-win, FIFA and the Canadian officials said no. So in the end, the Women’s World Cup was played on turf. It was never about grass or money. It was always about equal rights for equal players.

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One of many goal celebrations

Multiple women’s teams that played in the tournament were from countries where their male counterparts failed to even qualify for the men’s tournament. As it stands, the US Men’s National Team hasn’t won a single World Cup. Our Women’s National Team has won three (1991, 1999, & 2015). In the FIFA World Rankings, the US women sit at #1. Our men sit at #34. Equal play my sweet petootie! The more accurate term is better play.

Not horrified yet? Well just wait until you hear what the USSF pays men for a loss. Male players receive $5,000 per game to lose, which as we just established they do rather often much to the utter consternation of the fans (Come on, guys! You’re better than this!). What do the women get paid? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1700.00 and that’s only if they win. That’s a disgrace.

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This is what my 4 year old niece and I think of gender inequality

How can we put ourselves on the right side of history and right this very obvious and egregious wrong? First and foremost, give women equal pay for their superior play. Yes, I know the slogan is Equal Pay for Equal Play but I’m being real here. And yes, fine folks at the USSF, this can be done. You have the money and the resources. The Women’s World Cup final was the most watched game in the history of any World Cup tournament regardless of the gender of the players in said tournament. Women’s soccer has become wildly popular at every level from youth to NWSL. The USSF is positioned to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be a huge movement and will make money if they make the right moves.

 

While we’re talking equality, can we PLEASE stop subjecting the fans to every single meaningless Men’s International Friendly and do something to broadcast the women’s games?! I had to watch the majority of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament on a tiny laptop screen and I follow most of the NWSL season on the very same tiny screen assuming a live video stream is even available. Most of the time, I have to rely on Twitter. The money the USSF put into NWSL is appreciated, but women are now a majority (50.8%) of the US population, so please GET IT TOGETHER!

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My bearded dragon is a huge soccer fan and even he gets it

In addition to equal pay and equal broadcast time, the next priority should be a concerted effort to include more women in leadership roles in soccer’s governing bodies the world over. There was a lot of conversation on this topic on International Women’s Day. To paraphrase the King, Elvis Pressley I’d like to see a little less conversation and a little more action, please. So, Mr. Gulati, Mr. Infantino, this is the challenge that I am issuing to you: Include more women in the ranks of leadership and lead the rest of the world by your example. Then kick back and watch as the beautiful game becomes even more beautiful.

More Shenanigans @ Take 5

Last night’s show at Take 5 was a blast. The crowd was great! Kurt Zimmerman hosted. I opened the show and one of the funniest moments of my set was when my child filter failed. Thankfully, my niece wasn’t in the room otherwise I wouldn’t be alive to post this. We were joined by Sami Stans, Chris Sicoli, Kenan Floyd, James Camacho, Dan Lamorte, and our headliner Zack Hammond. Zack’s got an album out and you should definitely check it out. You can buy it here.

As always it was a really fun show to do.To see video of my entire set, go here. I also made a shiny new YouTube playlist which you can check out here. I haven’t booked any more shows for this month, but that might change. I’ll keep you posted here. In the meantime, you can catch me every Wednesday night at 7 PM on hamiltonradio.net on The Robbinsville Trainwreck. Keep laughing!