Archive for January, 2013

Deadlifts, Pushups, Michelle & Ellen

Thanks to all you generous contributors to the squat-a-thon a few months back, Queerfit now has a (quarter) ton of iron. These are not the $2/pound bright & bouncy bumper plates that are super popular in crossfit gyms these days. What we got for pennies per pound are big, rusty, old school iron plates.

They’re ugly and they’re heavy and we’re going to use all of them tonight in a deadlift + pushups mashup. For your Tuesday morning inspiration, then, this video (hat tip Jocelyn) of 44 bodyweight exercises that includes some wild pushups. Here is Ellen DeGeneres and Michelle Obama going head to head. And to totally blow your mind, a clapping planche pushup – that’s a pushup, with a clap, with both feet off the ground. What?! 

Our workout tonight: Read more…

Get real.

I’ve been in freezing NYC this week, so for the first time in years I’ve been working out in a commercial gym. To get my guest pass, I had to follow a Fitness Associate around the gym while he pointed out all the things that would make a $200 initiation + $70 a month membership fee worth it.  They were:

1. An entire wall of ellipticals outfitted with 80+ channels, including the Food Channel so you can get inspired by Paula Dean beating back her diabetes with triple layer chocolate frosted chocolate cake and Guy Fieri cramming a calf slathered in mayonnaise into his maw.

2. A set of 26 machines that let you work a single muscle at a time from the comfort of color-coded, padded seats.

3. And this:


Yes, that’s a swath of Astroturf in the middle of an indoor gym. This is apparently a new trend – making an indoor gym seem more outdoorsy by installing a patch of fake grass.

Now, I can maybe understand this in the middle of New York City, where there’s precious little green space and it is presently 8 degrees. But if you’re in a place where there’s actual grass in an actual outdoor space, Read more…

Squat snatch, deadlifts, Neon Deion

We’ll be deadlifting and doing one-armed dumbbell squat snatches in today’s 6:15 workout, two movements that are more complicated than they look. If you’re coming out tonight, check out these videos during your lunch break today:

One-armed dubmbell squat snatch

The deadlift

This week’s Tuesday inspiration is Deion Sanders. The Falcons-49ers game would have turned out differently if we’d had #21 as punt returner with :06 remaining on the game clock. Three minutes of Neon Deion doing his magic…do squats as you watch!

What are you lying about?

Now we know what judgment day looks like.

It’s you and Oprah. If you’re going to heaven, Oprah brings out a plate of cookies and reviews your life with you on her couch. If you’ve been a monumental asshole who has bullied, lied to, and destroyed other people in order to win, then you get a hardback chair. No cookies for Lance Armstrong last night.


Oprah asked: “How did you do it? Walk me through it. Pill deliveries, blood in secret refrigerators…how did it work?”

Lance Armstrong answered that it was a “very simple” mix of oxygen-supplying drugs, blood transfusions, and testosterone shots.

He left out the not so simple regime of pressuring his teammates to dope, buying off staffers to get around the drug testing, paying doctors to backdate prescriptions, suing news outlets for reporting on his doping, slandering people as prostitutes and alcoholics for speaking out, bribing top cycling officials, and insisting in interview after interview that he raced clean.

Whew. Lying is exhausting! No wonder Armstrong had to lie down on his sofa below his seven framed yellow jerseys a month after the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles. He wasn’t being an arrogant jerk when he tweeted this photo of himself in response to the USADA’s action. He was just extremely tired from fifteen long years of maintaining a lie.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Telling a lie is easy. We do it all the time. You say you’re going to go to a party when you know you  probably won’t. You tell someone you ain’t mad when you’re ready to bite their elbow off. In response to an inquiry regarding a certain smell, you say, “It wasn’t me!”

Lie, lie, lie. We toss them off as easily as Taylor Swift tosses off boyfriends.

But then it comes time to maintain a lie, and that takes energy. The more elaborate the lie, the more energy it takes. Consider the amount of energy – economic and psychic – white southerners have pumped into maintaining the lie that black people are inferior and a danger to whites. Creating and maintaining segregation and its progeny…very tiring. One must recline on the porch with a gin & tonic.

What Lance Armstrong did last night in Oprah’s hardback chair was acknowledge that his racing career was all a lie. Read more…

Queerfit’s Got New Coaches

Two of ’em. But first, a location update for tomorrow (Tuesday).  The weather forecast says rain, so we’ll meet under the awning at the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA station, street level on the Inman Park side. You can park in the parking lot (entrance at 118 Hurt Street) and find us toasty and dry doing sandbag burpees & shaking our sweat on innocent commuters. We start at 6:15.

As for our new coaches, please welcome Shae, aka The Hammer, and Jocelyn, aka J-Star:


Whenever Shae is coaching, we will be in swimwear, and whenever J-Star is on deck, we will be in mud.

No, no, we won’t.

What we are doing is jumping in with Jocelyn for her Long Run Sundays that take off at 10:30 Sunday mornings from the Charis Bookstore parking lot (1189 Euclid Avenue). And jumping in to do whatever Shae wants us to do when she’s coaching, even if it involves laying out on a beach and leaping up once in a while to do a flying triangle pose on our chins.

Let’s give lots of love & big thanks to these two superstars for taking on coaching you unruly queerfitters!

Be extraordinary

(new location info for tomorrow at bottom)

Three years ago, Jessica Colotl was late to her political science class at Kennesaw State when a campus security officer rapped on her car window and told her she was blocking traffic.  He asked for her drivers’ license.

Jessica had been brought to the US by her parents when she was a child.  It was not until her high school friends started showing off their fresh driver’s licenses that Jessica realized what her mother meant when she said there is ningún registro de ellos en el sistema – no record of them in the system.

The security officer told Jessica to go the next day to the campus security office.  She did, and was arrested. After two days in Cobb County Jail and another five in Fulton, a deputy packed up a minivan with men and women under the jurisdiction of ICE, put them in shackles, and told them they were on their way to their “final destination.”  The ninety mile trip due west on back roads ended at Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama.

Jessica spent the next thirty days inside the detention center waiting to be deported. It was during this month that something extraordinary happened.

The ordinary thing at this point would have been to give up. Everyone knew that once someone who was undocumented got to  Etowah Detention, they were as good as gone. But Jessica had been part of a sorority at KSU, and her sorority sisters didn’t know that it was time to give up. They set up a Don’t Deport Jessica Colotl page on FB and started calling around for help. The sorority sisters turned out in force at a May 1 march. Here they are…


On May 5, a guard called Jessica up to the front of the cellblock and told her, “You’re going home.”  To everyone’s surprise, the guard meant Atlanta, not Mexico.

Then the extraordinary got even more so. Read more…

So you want to be a queerfitter…

Here’s how:

1. Sign up. Check out what we’re about. On the top right corner of the blog, you’ll see “Join Queerfit.” Join up to get location updates and fresh inspiration each week in your email. If you’re not an Atlantan, that’s alright – more than half of queerfit members follow us from faraway, exotic locales like Oakland and Brooklyn. What we want to spread is the philosophy & politics of accessible, powerful group workouts designed to increase strength and mobility. If you are in Atlanta,though, what we really want is for you to…

2. Come on – come out. Re: an accessible workout, queerfit is free, scalable to all levels of fitness and mobility, child/parent friendly, and locations are always wheelchair accessible. It seems, though, that the main barrier for some of you who want to come out  but haven’t yet is that you find queerfit intimidating. Be not intimidated. Be scared, but come out anyway. The Irish poet James Stephens pointed out that Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. There’s much to be curious about: what your body is capable of; who you’ll meet at queerfit; what the workout will be; what you’ll learn about yourself. All things to be curious about. Also, it’s perfectly OK to come out and just watch – because really, look at this group…


…who wouldn’t want to watch? We’re pretty confident that Read more…

Wishing you a 2013 of kaizen/găi shàn

How’s your list of goals/commitments/intentions looking for 2013? You know the basics of goal-setting: make them specific, measurable, and time-bound. So “have sex w/ someone new, combined blood alcohol level <0.21, by January 31” instead of “get laid.”

But these kinds of outcome-based goals can have negative side effects. The Harvard Business School authors of Goals Gone Wild looked into the lying, cheating, backstabbing, frustration, and general pissiness prevalent in goal-driven companies and concluded that “the beneficial effects of goal setting have been overstated while systematic harm has been largely ignored.”

Local case in point: many police departments have productivity goals for their officers, measured by the number of stops, citations and arrests made per week. You can’t get much more specific, measurable and time-bound than that.  Rather than making people any safer, though, what those policing goals produce are racially disproportionate stop-and-frisks and tons of junk arrests, which lead to mass incarceration, the destruction of communities, and the collapse of civilization. Not a good look.

When it comes to fitness, outcome-based goals can be (nearly) as counterproductive. The number one goal of Americans every year – “lose weight” – becomes in its specific, measurable, time-bound form “lose 10 pounds by January 31.” It’s a formula that makes manufacturers of weight-loss supplements wealthy, and millions of people very unhappy. Not only does the goal focus you on a number that has almost no correlation to fitness, the specificity of “10 pounds by January 31” encourages you to do things that make you less healthy in the long run. Swallowing hoodia-bitter orange-metatonin pills in your sauna suit while rocking your Skeecher Shape-Ups, for example. Not a good look.

That said, there’s something quite lovely about setting goals at the start of the year. It’s one of the only times we take a long pause to think about what’s important, see where you want to go, and strategize about how to get there. Done en masse in the beginning of each year, it’s our magnificent, national exercise in fantastic hopefulness.

So is there a way to get the good that comes from setting outcome-based goals while avoiding all the counterproductive lying, cheating, frustration, and general pissiness that comes along for the ride?

There is. It’s the most excellent concept of kaizen. Read more…