A beginner wilderness workout for your survivalist needs

So let’s get real for a second: the apocalypse is coming and we need to be prepared. When that time comes we’re going to need strength. We’re going to need to be fit so we can outrun the zombies, the people  you want the zombies to catch in lieu of catching you, and to build the new town with your favorite people (and a couple of shady people you met on the street that have skills you might need).

This is the first workout I’m building in a Pinterest pinnable format (roll your mouse over the image and you’ll see a Pinterest icon in the top left corner) so you can save it for the next time you need to get outside for a workout and have no equipment handy. While the workout is geared toward beginners with basic movements and only body weight, you experienced fitties can up the ante in sets or by modifying the exercises for increased difficulty.

I  currently have the luxury of living on nine acres of mountain so the wilderness available was more abundant for me that it might be for you but do your best to find similar substitutes when needed.

The best part of me providing these new photo workouts to you is that you get to learn more about how wonky I am. I have a lot of weirds thanks to the way my body naturally exists so pay more attention to my cues than my pictures when noted.

I mean, not that my pictures aren’t good. They’re good. I swear. I’m just saying… do better than me if you aren’t as derpy as me. Get lower. Be straighter. I believe in you.

Oh and in case you’re wondering: no I don’t do Crossfit and those awesome socks don’t serve a purpose. I just love awesome socks.

Click the photo for the larger version.




Why I left personal training (Part 1)

dumbellsThe reasons I left personal training (as a profession*) are varied and I’m not keen on writing a dissertation to present all at once so I’m breaking my story up. For my sake and your sake.

I decided to become a personal trainer after I had dropped out of college, quit drinking (for a while, until later when I actually quit drinking), moved back home, and needed to figure out what to do with my life. I signed up for classes at a local community college but only went to a few before leaving. I couldn’t find something that fit but I knew that most days of the week I would find time to work out. Between finding a job and finding motivation for the rest of my life, I found a way to encourage myself and feel better about myself.

I tried to get family and friends to exercise with me and was happy to encourage them through it all. One day my mom suggested I become an aerobics instructor (outdated terminology, but you get the idea) and I spent the next couple of weeks researching personal training. I got a job in a gym as a sort of floor attendant while I studied and worked with other personal trainers to learn as much as I could. The gym promoted me to personal trainer once I achieved the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer credential and I thought it would be smooth sailing from there.

When I thought of myself as a personal trainer I imagined myself talking to people about their problems as I took them through perfectly programmed workouts. The person would learn to trust and listen to me, would see the changes in their body, and would keep coming back. My bills would be paid, my heart would be full, and I would have helped someone to get healthier (and hopefully happier).

Turns out I was wrong.

At no point in learning about anatomy, physiology, or kinesiology did anyone ever tell me what the actual business of personal training was like.

When you work for corporate gyms, personal training is more a sales job than anything else. When I last left a corporate gym, I was working only on commission but spending most of my time at the gym to try to drum up new sales. I spent maybe 15 hours per week training, was at the gym for at least 60 hours a week, and when all was said and done if you divided the commission up per hour worked I was making less than $2 per hour. I was trying to sell and not to train because with the tiered payment structure the gym built (as with the gym before it), I made more money selling than I did training. What is 30% of one training session when I can make 15% off of an annual package? Training I would make around $20 per hour and only when the client actually showed up for a session. When you include extras like a heart rate monitor and fitness testing if the client is interested, they could be committing to thousands of dollars easily.

When I first started I was excited to train. When I realized how much more money I could make selling training I amped it up. I impressed my supervisors with the amount I was able to bring in so early on. When I realized I had become a glorified saleswoman, I stopped selling as well. My numbers dropped. My supervisors complained, they asked what happened and how they could help me get back to the numbers I had before. I didn’t have an answer for them then because I was too scared to talk about how I really felt.

As a trainer in more than one gym, I was asked about my training protocol and programs less than 10 times. I was asked about my sales numbers daily.

Have you found a new client today? Go walk around the floor and offer to help people that need it.

Have you sold any heart rate monitors today? Talk to your 4 o’clock client about it, she needs one.

I was tired. I was tired of being the bleeding heart trying to convince a person that could barely afford their gym membership that they should invest in a $1500 training package. I was tired of working long hours for little return. I was tired of selling these massive packages or checking off training hours that cost $80 a pop for the client and seeing a meager return in my paycheck. I was tired of not being the personal trainer I wanted to be. I wanted to talk to people. I want to listen to their stories and help them overcome their insecurities. I wanted to be a personal trainer. Not a personal trainer sales machine.

If you look around the gym in most chains you might notice that a lot of the trainers are young. I’m not saying older trainers don’t exist (I’ve met some fabulous ones), I’m just saying they’re few and far between. And I think it has a lot to do with the current state of the business of personal training. I don’t think I’m the first one to get tired of the sales focus, I think I just got tired of it earlier than most people do.

The most successful personal trainers I know work for themselves.** They have created a brand and while sales are still important, they know that their success ultimately lies on the effectiveness of their training and their client’s willingness to learn. Because of that, training doesn’t fall by the wayside in the name of sales.

I once worked with a trainer who swore that someday he hoped to open a chain of gyms that paid trainers hourly or salary and that personal trainers would be kept from all aspects of the sale. It’s a nice dream and I hope he makes it happen someday. For all of the future personal trainers that genuinely want to empower other people and focus on fitness instead of on sales goals.



 *I still happily train friends and family, and – of course – give fitness guidance online. I love fitness and personal training on my own terms,in my own time, and under my own brand. I still maintain my ACSM certification and renew it when applicable.

**Disclaimer: My experience relates to working for big box gyms. Working for yourself is a whole different kettle of fish that I have only minimal personal experience with and cannot speak to well enough to comment on in detail.

Friday Sci-Five: 09.12.14

Oh yes! It’s time for the return of that thing you didn’t know was gone! The Friday Sci-Five! Since it’s been a while, let’s get straight down to business. I’ve picked my favorite sci-fi/fantasy/other news of the last week and mooxed it all together for you here.

I’m also having Photoshop problems so I hope you like the busted ass header this week.



Z Nation premieres tonight. I’m kind of over zombie movies and TV shows (they’re so 2010 amirite) but that’s not going to stop me from tuning in for the premiere of Z Nation on Syfy. It seems to have a lot of the same basic story line as The Last Ship (this person is immune to the disease, let’s use this person to save the world!) and the show’s imagery reminds me a lot of the Walking Dead, but I have a sweet spot for Syfy so I have to tune in. With the show premiering at 10PM tonight, Syfy’s homepage is dedicated to the fledgling show. First stop on Syfy train today is Z Nation ville (no? didn’t work?).

On a related note, I know we’re trying to set a mood or whatever, but can one post-apocalyptic TV show or movie – just one – please show people wearing real clothes? It’s like when the apocalypse came, it also wiped out all of the colored fabrics in the world. Here’s the thing, when the zombies come, I’m keeping my purple hoodie. And my pink shoes. And my My Little Pony t-shirt. That’s happening. I’m not going to go out and loot some store for all of their neutral colored clothing so that I fit into the apocolaypse better. I’m going to wear what I already have. Colors and all.

The Walking Dead is getting a companion series.  Speaking of zombies and of the dying trend (HA SEEWHATIDIDTHERE?!) The folks at AMC have given the green light to a Walking Dead companion series. Where will it take place? Nobody knows. Who will be in it? Nobody knows. What’s going to happen? Probably something related to zombies. I assume.

Co-creator and co-writer Robert Kirkman said this companion series will give us a look into the rest of the world during the zombie apocalypse – not just the World According to Rick and Friends. Production on the pilot is scheduled for late 2014 and I want to be more excited about this but I worry that we’re just milking the money machine right now (#goodatmetaphors). As with the above, I’m definitely going to tune in (we had a zombie-themed wedding cake for god’s sake) although I’m hesitant to get excited about more zombie-tainment. Prove me wrong zombie-tainment! Prove me wrong!


Christ Pratt is hosting the SNL season premiere. Here’s the thing about SNL: It’s really just not funny anymore. Here’s the thing about Guardians of the Galaxy: THE MOVIE WAS AMAZING. I can’t. I don’t. The. Ugh. You guys. The movie was action packed and hilarious. I laughed, I cried, I danced along with Baby Groot. There aren’t many movies my husband or I would see again in theaters but we both agreed we would see that one again (and know many people who saw it multiple times). I want to be a Guardian of the Galaxy, I want to be their friend. A huge part of what made this movie fantastic are the acting abilities and comedic timing of the stars of the film. Pratt was funny on Community and hilarious in GOTG. I don’t ever watch SNL anymore but I’ll be setting my DVR for this one. He’ll be hosting the season premiere on September 27th (NBC), so if you’re a weirdo recluse like me and asleep before midnight on the weekends, be sure to set your DVR too. Maybe we’ll get some funnies out of it a la Jimmy & Justin?


Baltimore Comic Con happened. We didn’t go this year because money and time but the roundups from BCC2014 look fantastic. Between the cosplayers, the Harvey Awards, the panels, and the artists in the alley, it looked like one hell of a weekend. We’re looking forward to con season next year (we’ll have to start saving now with the way con prices keep rising) but until then, we’ll just have to live off of the pictures from comic con all over the internet. The team over at Evil Geeks provided not one but two cosplay roundups from BCC2014 so be sure to check them out. I love me some good cosplay. Partially because I love when people get into character and partially because I have zero costuming ability whatsoever and am totally jealous.


Screen Junkies premiere Honest Godzilla Trailer. The latest installment in their Honest Trailer series, this redo trailer of the 2014 summer season movie helps you to understand the movie more than you ever could have imagined. I enjoyed the movie enough. I wasn’t incredibly disappointed when I left because I thought Godzilla (while on screen for limited time) looked good and the ending of the movie was good fun action. But there wasn’t a single decent female role in the entire film (fascinating, considering the movie that takes place on Earth, where women make up approximately 50% of the population) and the rest of the movie was a bit tired/boring. And I say this with sadness in my heart, because I really like Aaron Taylor Johnson, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Olsen. They’re no Godzilla (I mean, let’s talk actor longevity here), but I think they’re talented actors. And I don’t think this movie did them – or Godzilla – justice.  I don’t want to spoil the trailer for you, so check it out below. And laugh. Do it. Go on. Do it.

It’s like geek Christmas



Steve Jobs, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Mac Empire come,
thy will be done.
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our yearly iPhone.
And forgive us our trespasses against Apple,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into Windows or Android temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the phone kingdom,
the computer power,
and the tablet glory.

For ever and ever.