Live Out There Exclusive: “How to hit the gym before work”

Any veteran reader of Rant and Roll will know that I have a storied history with the gym. In fact, the first time I was freshly pressed (way, way back in 2012!) it was because of a post about how I both loved and loathed my (then) gym.

However, when I suffered a small tear in my right calf muscle last fall, and rejoined the land of the gym dwellers, I had no idea how much I would love incorporating the gym into my early mornings! This month on Live Out There, I wrote about how you too can learn to love hitting the gym before the sun rises, and how to get the most out of your workout.

I used to balk at the idea of getting up and exercising before work. My line of reasoning? I had to wake up early enough, so why the heck would I ever choose to rise before necessity strictly demanded it of me? Sleep, after all, is a hugely valuable commodity and I was fiercely proud of my ability to distill my morning routine down to the bare minimum. At my best I could get my (very presentable) self out of the door in twenty minutes or less.

But then I moved to the lovely little Hamlet known as New Westminster and began taking the skytrain into my job every day. At the station closest to my house there is Dynamic Fitness, a lovely, evenly priced gym, and last autumn, as I nursed a torn calf muscle, I took out a membership. I thought I would give a pre-work workout a try, just to see if I could hack an early morning sweat. I could use the gym’s showers and leave my stuff in a locker during the day. What did I have to lose?

Continue reading my top tips for transitioning to early morning workouts here.

These things you do to me

Alright nerds, let’s get to it.

(Nerd, being of course, the highest honour I could ever bestow, so please don’t take it as an insult.)

Today I ate the most delicious of lunches – the grilled cheese sandwich and salad combination from Burgoo – only to have it pretty much destroy me for the rest of the afternoon.

(Goodness knows that we humans were not built for that much melted dairy. Thank sweet mother of pearl that my meal did in fact come with a green salad, as a good deal of roughage is more than necessary when eating en entire wheel of Gruyere.)

Anywho, I arrived back home feeling pretty wretched: my pants felt like they were glued to my legs, my sweater was itching the back of my neck, and overall I just felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable and hot.

(And not in the sense that I am used to, what with my incredible good looks and overall nubile-ness. Nubile-ity?)

Either way, I figured the best thing to do to try and flush the excess cheese from my system was to get back outside and go for a run.

And this, folks, was hard.

Because all I really wanted to do wasjust  take off my pants and lie down on the couch for the remainder of my days.

Yet somehow I did manage to muster up enough energy to schlep myself upstairs, and slither into my running gear.

Once I took off all I could really think about was how much I was already looking forward to the run being over.

Nothing felt like it should – my legs felt heavy and my shirt too tight. Even my sweet new running playlist couldn’t break through my mental melancholy.

I figured I would run 5k and just be done with it. I had completed a very fast 7k yesterday, and an even faster 6k the day before, so today would just be a wash and I could start anew tomorrow.

However,once I got to the turnaround at 4k I decided at the last minute that I would do one more half loop and stop at the ‘work out area’ of the park and do a few resistance supersets (jump squats and chin-ups and the like.)

As soon as I arrived at the monkey bars I chastised myself for not just heading home. I absolutely hate strength training if I’m not giving it 100 per cent, and I had a pretty strong inkling that this time I would just be phoning it in.

However, I did give it a go, starting with the bars (Tough Mudder training!) before moving on to the next exercise. As I finished my first round of push-ups, an elderly gentleman approached and told me in his broken English how impressed he was with my efforts.

I was a little taken aback, what with how focused I was on the actual workout, that I never really formulated a coherent response to his words.

He continued on with his stretching and I continued with my circuit.

After my last set of chin-ups he approached again and asked me (while gesturing at the bar) “10? You 10?”

“8,” I replied breathless.

“8! Wow!” he exclaimed. “Very, very good!”

My heart nearly melted out of my chest.

With those five simple words, this man just completely turned my day around and I felt like my smile would force my face to crack in two.

“Thank you!” I exclaimed.

He smiled back.

As I finished up, he moved on to the balance beam, and I watched him stand for as long as he could on one foot, before switching to the other.

I made sure to wait until he turned around, so at the very least I could wave goodbye before I left.

For the last kilometer home I ran with a renewed gusto. I smiled at everyone I passed – runners, walkers, dogs, kids – everyone was gifted with my goofy, grinning face.

So I would like to thank that man.

For reminding me that we have the capacity to do so much good, even at the most simple and basic level.

And the next time I eat a grilled cheese sandwich I will think of him.

Which might be a little cheesey.

But that’s okay.

Especially if it comes with a salad.


I think I am going to be sick


Do you guys ever come home thinking that you’ll work out right away but then you realize that you’re actually starving so you eat all of the wheat thins and chocolate milk but then work out anyways and spend the whole time trying not to ralph?


I really feel like this happens to me too much for my own good.

It’s strange.

I never really feel the full extent of my hunger pains until I walk through my front door and start getting my stuff (shorts/sports bra/socks/etc.) together and start thinking about where I am going to go for a run or what I am going to do for my workout.

I know a lot of this has to do with the fact that I often don’t eat enough food at lunch – either because I arrived for the day inadequately prepared, or maybe I just worked straight through my break, or maybe I did eat, but all I had was a bag of unsalted roasted almonds, and dried cranberries (which, just for the record, is the most delicious combination of life.)

Either way, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Because there really is nothing worse than working out and no knowing whether or not you’re going to barf – right?

(Okay, there may be one or two worse things in the world, but for the sake of hyperbole, let’s say that there isn’t.)

And I don’t know exactly why, but somehow this still keeps happening to me.

This is my blessing.

This is my curse.

I think what it boils down to is, when I get hungry – like, really, gut-wrenchingly hungry, the kind of hunger that sneaks up on you from behind and then knocks you senseless with one strong punch to the back of the head – I have little (to no) self-control over what it is that I eat, and then I carry on as if nothing has happened, having convinced myself that I need not alter my behaviour to accommodate for the 1000 milligrams of sodium I may have just ingested.

(I mean, at the very least I should drink a boatload of water to help flush that crap out.)

For instance, I once went for a six kilometer run after eating an entire bag of smokey bbq kettle chips as if it was AIN’T NO THANG.

And it wasn’t.

Until, of course, I had to make a b-line for the Queen’s Park port-a-potty approximately four and a half kilometers into my route and spent the next hour and a bit suffering from the cold-sweats, wrapped in a wool blanket, sipping peppermint tea.

(That was a pretty dark day for me.)

Not this specific incident, but another pretty crazy workout – caught in a rainstorm mid-run!

This cavalier attitude is also unhelpful, because I’m really trying to push my boundaries when it comes to strength training and nothing, NOTHING says disaster, both in terms of strength gains and general gastronomic distress, then improper nutritional choices.

Speaking of which, (and I know this may seem inconsequential for all you health nuts out there), but for the past three days I haven’t eaten sweets after my dinner.

Now, this is HUGE because 1.) I actually ATE a proper dinner (huzzah!) and 2.) I normally always eat dessert after EVERY meal (seriously, sometimes I eat multiple desserts, or just have dessert for dinner).

For me, taking a bit of a break from my usual après-meal status quo is pretty darn sweet.


So in the end, maybe this crazy stuff finds a way of evening itself out?

I mean, I’m certainly going to keep striving to improve my health, make better choices, and DEFINITELY eat lunch every day – no matter what.

I just also have to recognize that, like me, these choices of mine are never going to be truly perfect.

Put your hands on my body

“Use up the rest of your benefits,” they said.

“Go and get a massage,” they said.

And get a massage I did.


It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the one hour I lay prone on that table as a very kind, and incredibly petite woman lay waste to my internal organs.

I mean, who doesn’t LOVE a good deep-tissue muscle scrub? Am I right or what?

Massage are great!

They’re GREAT! (Also, look at my giant hand!)

Seriously, there is no question at all about that.

But, let’s not pretend that the best ones don’t hurt like heck, and as such, force you to perform your yoga-breathing for the entire sixty or so minutes that you’re engaged in one.

I went to my local RMT this afternoon because I’ve been having some tightness in my shoulders and upper back. I haven’t been running as much these days, what with the sun setting at 2:15 in the afternoon, and temperatures hovering around -1 degree centigrade, so instead, I’ve been doing quite a bit of body resistance work and strength training.

This is great, because I can now do sixty push-ups relatively easily during one workout (but not in a row alas. At least not yet. However, my plan is to be Linda Hamilton circa T-2 by the time I do Tough Mudder next June.)

This is not great because it leaves me very sore.

And to combat this soreness I go and get massages that just make me even more sore. (Sorer? Sauron?)

Ahem. Moving forward.

While I was getting massaged today, I started thinking about all the good things and all the bad things about the process, and because I was having so much fun mulling over these things in my head, I decided it was high time to dust off this old, but always popular, Rant and Roll chestnut:


Things I love about getting massaged:

The lead-up to the actual act. How great is it telling others that this coming Friday afternoon you have an appointment with an RMT?


People are always so darned excited for you, and then they’ll say something like “I should totally get one too!” And then you’re all “OMG YOU TOTALLY SHOULD” and then your friendship is bonded even harder over your shared love of upcoming massage visits.

Things I loathe about getting massaged:

That weird minute or so when you’re in the room with your massage therapist, and they’re all asking what you want worked on, but it’s awkward because you’re thinking about taking your clothes off, and you’re also kind of like, “IS THIS CUTTING IN MY ONE HOUR LADY? BECAUSE I PAID FOR AN HOUR!” and then once they’re gone you get undressed (always vaguely alarmed that there just might be hidden cameras) and then you lie there for what seems like forever until they knock on the door and you’re all “YES!” in a voice that is much, MUCH too enthusiastic.

Things I love about getting massaged:

Those moments after they’ve absolutely massaged the crap out of one spot on your body (so much so that you briefly think you’re going to pass out from the pain) and then they just rub lightly in circles around that point and everything in the world feels like it’s right again, and you also think you might be a superhuman because of your insanely high pain tolerance and would you exist in the Marvel or DC universe?

Things I loathe about getting massaged:

I am a competitive bastard, and I hate the thought of losing at ANYTHING. As such, whenever an RMT asks me if the pressure is too much, I cannot bring myself to say yes, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure that I can feel her fingers inside of my kidney(s).

I just keep deep breathing and telling myself that “this too shall pass” while the pain in my head hollers indiscriminately “HAHAHAH! NEVER. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!!”

Good grief.

One day I will be mature enough to say “less pressure please!”, but until that day, I suffer in silence.

In silence!

Things I love about getting massaged:


All hail the rest of the day following the massage.

Seriously, I feel like I’m floating on air.

Add to this a piping hot shower, a lovely comfortable outfit, a good book and a glass of tea?


If the insane pain of the actual massage didn’t manage to kill me, this definitely will.

I am definitely dead by how fantastic I feel having come out the other side.

And it’s because of this that I will never, ever stop getting massaged.

Whether I mature, or not.

(Or not.)

All these things we love to hate

Life is all about the yin and the yang; the light and the dark.

Let’s embrace it!

I love:

Veggie burgers with melted cheddar cheese, fried onions and mushrooms, pickles, and spinach on asiago bread. Oh, and yam fries.

I loathe:

Turnips, any way. Can we please stop trying to make turnips happen? They are a pain in the ass to peel, take forever to cook, and taste the way that farts smell.

They are the absolute worst.

I love:


I suffered brief, albeit alarming heart palpitations when I heard that the premiere of this brilliant, and gut-bustingly hilarious show has been pushed back.


And how does consistently crap programming keep getting renewed (or you know, Charlie Sheen keep getting hired?) while this perfect gem of hilarity gets slowly Arrested Developmented?

That is so not cool, cool, cool.

I loathe:

Cameron Crowe movies. Do people, other than narcissistic fifteen year-old boys and emotionally stunted, middle aged, ex-high school star quarterbacks actually like this drivel?

These are not good movies. In fact, they are terrible. Anytime I hear someone talk about how good Almost Famous is I want to box their ears. Elizabethtown is so awful it’s laughable.

I swear I can just hear Mr. Crowe cackling over his perceived wit every time I unwittingly see a clip from one of these car wrecks.

Plus they just feel so nineties – and not in a good way. Take Clueless for instance – that movies is nineties in the most awesome way possible. These films just feel like itchy flannel chafing my teen spirit to death.


I love:



I loathe:

No animals. That’s impossible.

But I do think that people who hate animals are Satan’s minions.

And there’s no saving soulless demon-spawn. They’re goners.

I love:

Going grocery shopping after working out. It always makes me feel like I’M GETTING STUFF DONE.

Plus my adrenaline is still going like gangbusters so I can carry at least 40 per cent more groceries than normal.

Not to mention you always buy all the best stuff post-sweat fest. Except for coconut water with pulp – that stuff is weird sauce.

I loathe:

Forgetting to buy razors.

Because that means I have to go back to the store, and once I commit to going back to the store, it means picking up Drano because for some reason the bathtub isn’t draining quite right, and also bodywash (but not the kind I really like due to the fact that it’s now nine dollars, and that is obscene), and spray that makes my hair way, way shiny (but smells like really strong old lady perfume, so much so that I immediately regret my purchase, especially because if I hadn’t bought it I could have just got the good kind of body wash in the first place.)

That may or may not have happened.


So what about you dudes? What do you love? What do you loathe? Let it all Chang out.