10 things that unnecessarily annoy me at the gym

Yes, I know gyms are inclusive and anyone is allowed to do what they want, wear what they want and enjoy their workout sessions doing their own thang, but there are certain things that really wind me up. So here is a short and sweet list (note, about 10 things on the list and, I’m not actually being that sweet about anyone or anything, don’t say I didn’t warn you)

  • Anyone who is wearing a vest  WITH A HOOD. I mean, when was this ever cool. Literally never is the answer so please don’t do it again.
  • Anyone who spends more time looking in the mirror than they do actually doing any work. Or sitting on their phone. There is ‘using a phone for looking at your workouts’ and then there is ‘you could just do that in your living room don’t take up my space’. Same with ‘using the mirror to check form’ and ‘I think I am absolutely bangin’, don’t you agree?’
  • Floppy fringes. There was a guy yesterday who literally spent the entire time swishing his hair around.I don’t even know how he could see anything. Wear a flipping headband if it’s getting in your face.Or get a hair cut.  GAH. (Sub-point here…girls who exercise with their hair down. How do you even do that?!)
  • People who put the treadmills on really high inclines and then hold onto the handrails the.whole.time. You are literally doing half the work you think you are doing.
  • Facial expressions. I mean, I know people can’t really help what they look like when at the gym, but sometimes people should just calm it down. No-one needs to see you gurn (but now I’ve noticed I can’t stop looking)
  • People who cheat. Yes, I mean you who is on the leg press with his mate “spotting” (aka pushing) and also pushing your thighs with your hands. NO THAT DOES NOT COUNT as 200KG. You are as bad as people holding onto the handrails of a treadmill. Do it properly. You’re only kidding yourself (eyeroll)
  • Ladies only sections. Basically, I know I’m toeing the line here, people will disagree and this (and gender-specific races) merits its own post, but if I was suddenly not allowed in a specific section of the gym that was always quieter than the rest, I’d probably kick off. Also, why can’t we have the ladies only section full of squat racks and benches so we can use them to our hearts content, rather than just treadmill after treadmill. Riddle me that.
  • Really low gym ceilings. Basically, at Virgin Active at Barbican there is nowhere you can do box jumps because you are in danger of hitting your head. Sort it out. Oh, whilst I’m on it, those Grid classes that basically take up the only free floor space there really is in the gym and use about 15 kettlebells and all the TRXs. I get that the class needs to take place, but everyone is trying to work out at 7.30am and I can’t wait 30 minutes please thank you.
  • People who have really bad form but think they don’t. I’m all for giving things a go, getting some help and braving things like weights for the first time – everyone has to start somewhere and no one is perfect. But what really bugs me is people who think they are super pro, are doing things appallingly (ridiculously swinging your arms during bicep curls is cheating, duh) and it’s like nah bro calm down. (Note, these people would also probably refer to themselves as ‘bro; so it is totally legit for me to do so)
  • People who bring their entire makeup kit and have time to put hair extensions in after working out in the morning. I mean I literally blow dry the sweat out of my hair and do my make up in about 2 minutes. It’s less that these people irritate me, more that they just make me realise I am really not putting much effort into life.

I would like to open this up – what’s your personal gym bugbear?

(Note – I am not a mean person in real life, just intolerant xoxo)

People who shouldn’t be allowed on cycle superhighways in London…

London has been a hive of bike lane related activity recently and I have to say, it’s made a difference now that things are finally up and running and the roadworks are out of the way. I regularly use the now (nearly!) fully segregated lanes that have been built into CS7  and its offshoots (that’s the main drag from Clapham to the City), especially around Stockwell and on Blackfriars Road, and I have to say, for someone who was fed up of weaving in and out of traffic and getting everywhere at a snail’s pace, I now don’t have to! It’s also made it a heck of a lot safer for less confident riders and as long as people use them properly, they will (hopefully) continue to flourish and encourage more people to get on their bikes.

But as with all these things, there are people who still don’t use them correctly and it is time for me to have a bit of a rant about who should get out of my bike lane! Continue reading

10 things j’adore about Le Tour

It’s every cyclist’s (and wannabee’s) favourite 3 weeks of the year again…Le Tour is back in full swing and we are all trying our best to be in the breakaway group on London’s cycle superhighways and wondering why the person on a Boris bike (sorry, Santander cycle) behind you isn’t responding to when you flick your elbow to get them to take the lead (just me then?)

Today is the first rest day (and by rest day, I mean they will just go out and do a casual 1-2 hour ride rather than say, 5 or 6 hours) and we have already have TONNES of drama. From Cavendish becoming the 2nd highest stage winner of all time, to Steve Cumming’s second solo breakaway win in as many years (WHY is he not in the Olympic team?), to Froome’s mental descending technique (that did the job) and the loss of Contador yesterday, it’s been a rollercoaster thus far. THREE BRITS IN JERSEYS!

So, without much further ado, here are some reasons why I love it…

  1. How easy it is to go and watch! I’ve been brought up taking little excursions to random locations in France where you can literally turn up at the side of the road and see them all go past…which is a brilliant (and free) introduction to cycling as you can just sense the speed. Obviously, the more popular locations such as the big climbs such as Alpe D’Huez have people turning up days in advance, but if you know there is a stage near you, you can pretty much always find somewhere to watch it. Key tip – take a radio or stand next to someone who has one to keep up with what is happening.

Tour De France London 2014

  1. The commentary. Watching it live is often up there with TMS in that commentators like to go a bit off topic…chateaus being top of the list of distractions. The ITV commentary team has changed up a bit though, which means probably less chateaus but more actual insight into what the peloton is going to do (thanks David Millar)
  1. The cliches. Seriously, if you pay attention to the Tour for any period of time, you quickly learn which rider does what, and key commentary terms to describe them. You can then start doing impressions (Chris Froome looking at stems is probably one of my favourite Tumblrs) and talking knowledgeably about Contador ‘dancing on the pedals’.
  1. The characters. I’m not just talking about the riders, but the people who come to watch. In particular, the man below. Didi is a long term fan favourite at both the Tour and the Giro d’Italia since 1993 and even has his own Wikipedia page. 

Didi the Devil Tour de France

  1. The welcome from any town/village/hamlet/field that the riders pass through. There have been some amazing spectacles at the side of the road and artwork in fields. “Tour de France field art” is a legit Google search term.
  1. The DRAMA! See my point above. People fall off, favourites give up, people attack when others have mechanicals, it rains, it hails, it’s sunny, there are cobbles, spectators get punched in the face, people do drugs, people cycle across fields, people crash into telegraph poles and break their favourite sunglasses…this happens
  1. The speed of technical changes. If, whenever I got a puncture, someone could just get me a new wheel and change it in 10 seconds, it would be great. I tried to put a wheel back on without turning the bike upside down the other day and it was the most frustrating thing in the world! (I add to this that I would really like a support car to follow me on any bike ride from now on because it would save me a whooooole lot of trouble)
  1. The ability of the riders to ride on through pretty much anything. There are some hard crashes in the Tour. There is a lot of skin lost. Yet people manage to get back up, continue on and have their wounds cleaned by a doctor hanging out of the team car WHILST STILL CYCLING. Take that footballers. People GET THROWN INTO BARBED WIRE BECAUSE OF BAD DRIVING.
  1. The speed and distance. The speed is something you truly appreciate when you see it in person, because on TV they actually look kind of casual. I did Mt Ventoux a few years ago and it was absolutely exhausting and I only did the 21km climb…they are starting in Montpellier and finishing at the top of Ventoux, a total of 185km. Mental. They probably won’t stop for chips and sweets at the top either. Imagine averaging 30mph whilst being within an elbow distance of over a hundred people…or hitting 122kph on a downhill…actually, is that even possible?
  1. My final reason for loving the Tour is how much my family love it…This is what we have done (list non exhaustive…)
  • Made Top Trumps cards (the categories were dubious, as were the answers, but the pictures were great and we should probably trademark them)
  • Nicknamed a lot of riders
  • Had the ITV coverage theme song as ring tones
  • Sung the theme song multiple times
  • Made up our own TdF song
  • Done impressions of the majority of cyclists whilst riding
  • Held intermediate sprints in the middle of our rides
  • Played TdF drinking games
  • Got upset when we’ve seen the result before the highlights show
  • Been to watch it in numerous places
  • Caught water bottles from riders
  • Read literally every cycling autobiography
  • Seen the caravane on the autoroute going the opposite way around France
  • Cycled the wrong way around a XC MTB trail to get caught in torrential rain, hide in a cow shed and give up trying to get to our viewing location and stop to eat chips instead…
  • …to then go and watch the time trial the next day

So, closet cycling fans….what do you love about it? Any weird TdF traditions in your family?

Pubic hair. Yes, you read that correctly.

I know this isn’t strictly to do with sport, but given the only time I really come into contact with this as a subject is in the changing rooms at the gym or swimming pool, I’m lumping it in under the women’s sport umbrella. The subject being: pubes.

That’s right people, roll up, roll up, I wanna have a conversation about our bushes. Our beavers. Our foofs. Our lady gardens. The grass on our wickets. Our fuzzy landing strips. Our carpets (whether they match the curtains, or otherwise). Our untamed shrews. Our shaven havens. Our vajazzles.

The other day I read an article extolling the virtues of something called ‘Bush Oil‘, a British-made mix of essential oils designed to make pubic hair smoother, shinier and healthier. ‘Delightful!’ I hear you cry, ‘what has that got to do with anything?’ Well, seeing as you ask, it goes some way to evidence the fact that many of us are turning our backs on the painfully trendy fad of waxing off most, if not all, of our pubic hair. In fact, I would go so far as to say, the bush is back. Hooray!

I’m not sure whether this is weird or not (you can be the judge) but the only time I really give a monkeys about the state of my wax (or lack thereof) is not in the bedroom – frankly, if you have enough time to worry about it during the throws of passion, you’re probably doing it wrong – rather, it’s in the shower after the gym, swimming or playing sport, when the only people who’ll see are other women.

Kim Kardashian once proclaimed that women shouldn’t have hair anywhere but their heads, and Victoria Beckham suggested we should all be made to have our first Brazilian waxes at 15. As if we don’t give each other a hard enough time as it is! We judge each other on so many other beauty standards – how clear our skin is, how much make-up we wear, whether we are too fat or too thin – do we have to eyeball each other’s nether regions and pass judgement too? Is nothing sacred!? And why is it that women believe they should be bare down there in the first place? A number of things, but primary amongst them, porn. There’s a school of thought which theorises visual pornographers actively seek to infantilise women, but on a simpler level, pubic hair is a no-no in the porn world because it gets in the way of a clear shot of the action.

That’s all well and good, but porn movies don’t ever show the realities of the potential side effects of shaving or waxing the old lady garden – or at least I don’t think they do; there’s probably a whole sub-Reddit devoted to the ingrowing hairs, infections and razor rash that I haven’t stumbled across yet. In fact there’s loads of benefits to sporting a bit of fuzz down there; not least of which is that is saves you the time, pain and money it takes to get it waxed.

To summarise, my boyfriend is happy so long as things are trimmed and tidy down there (which makes practical sense to me anyway – spilling out of ones bikini bottoms isn’t a feminist statement, and it will get your Instagram account deleted… that’s a story for another day though), but I am judged by my fellow woman in the gym showers because my pubic region looks too womanly and I’m not in a state of perpetual readiness for filming an adult flick? Great.

 

A Valentine’s Day Special…dating someone sporty

The endless conundrum. Do guys like sporty girls? Do they like girly girls? Does it really matter? (Probably/not at all/who cares?) However, the media (and by that we mean the tripartite of Elite Daily, Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed), seem to frequently give somewhat mixed opinions on it – so we wanted to to challenge it.

I’m well aware that the reason I run, hit the gym and play a variety of sports isn’t to look good and keep guys happy.  Far from it. And Kate & I  have both been pretty vocal about our opinions on this –  anyone who has sat in a pub post rugby with the two of us will very much testify that we aren’t doing anything to keep anyone but ourselves happy – but it is an interesting question that I’m pretty sure men themselves don’t even understand. I mean I could make you well aware of what a lot of guys will immediately say about girls playing rugby, however, on the other hand, they will also wax lyrical about how annoying it is to have a girlfriend who doesn’t know or care about their chosen sport and moans when their weekends are consumed by it. HOW CAN YOU WIN? Simples. The answer is do it right back at them.

(Kate and I both met our boyfriends through playing rugby. They obviously don’t have too much of a problem with that)

We constructed a bunch of thoughts and I then asked for a male opinion – and he was all to happy to oblige.

Continue reading

An unabashed listicle: 5 Motivational Quotes from Women in Sport

A short post today, written more for my own benefit than anyone else…

I’m flagging. I’m having a bit of a wobble. Nothing major, just a bit of a wall, and as I’m sure all you runners can attest, a wall can be overcome with determination and the willingness to feel the burn. And boy is it burning. No, I’ve not run my first marathon, I’m knackered because of life in general. Masters Degrees are hard work – who knew??

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I’ve turned to our beloved world of Women in Sport for some motivation, inspiration and perspiration. Time to keep my chin up and power though. I hope they might bring a bit of light to anyone else who might be in need of it too 🙂

1. “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” – Martina Navratilova

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Sport for girls should be pink

Happy New Year, everyone! For my first post of 2016, I have been gifted a topic by a red hot (or should that be hot pink?) debate raging in Ireland right now.

[Sidenote: I wrote the first draft of this using a Bic for Her ballpoint pen… If you haven’t read the Amazon reviews I implore you to do so. For the good of your hand health.]

Whilst idly browsing Twitter this morning, I came across something posted by Her.ie magazine that made me double-take. An Irish company appear to be promoting a new product, marketed at women, to encourage the uptake of Gaelic Football by female players – enter, the Ladyball. That’s right y’all, the squidgy, pink #Ladyball.

Image from theladyball.com

Image from theladyball.com

The all new Ladyball specifically designed for a lady’s game – soft touch for a woman’s grip, eazi-play for a woman’s ability, fashion-driven for a woman’s style. Play like the lady you are.”

Continue reading

10 Reasons More Women Should Take Up Hiking

We’ve been talking about rugby a lot recently. Now for something completely different.

Hiking is great, I love it. You have an excuse to head out on an adventure in the great outdoors, with the wind in your hair and the mud squelching satisfyingly underfoot. Sometimes I consider plastering myself in blue face paint, wielding a big old stick and hurtling naked down a mountain side screeching “I AM QUEEN BOUDICA!”, but then I think it might just be easier to call one of my outdoorsy mates and suggest we take a jaunt up a big hill.

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A Video Postcard from Cornwall

Hello there chums! I have been on a bit of a hiatus for a few weeks, so I thought I’d post a video postcard from sunny Cornwall to say “Hi! I’m back!”

So there you have it, I’m chilling out down here in the south west for the next few months, so I would LOVE to get your input on what sporty activities I should be getting involved in whilst I’m here. Leave us a comment, or give us a shout on Twitter @thesegirlsdo!

Gans kara (“with love” in Cornish… I hope),

Kate

6 Things Sporty Girls are Tired of Hearing

1. “You’re playing sport AGAIN tonight?”

Yup. Bloody love it. I would genuinely rather go and run around outside with a bunch of awesome people after work than most other things.

Source: Tag Rugby 7s

2. “Aren’t you worried about bulking up?”

Er, we’ve been through this guys. Girls’ bodies don’t react the same way to strength and resistance training as guys’. Having said that, sure, I’m fairly muscle-bound and therefore a tad on the heavy side, but my body fat % and wait:hip ratio are pretty damn good. Take that potential heart disease and type 2 diabetes. #BOOM Continue reading