Exercise for fun and profit!

You demanded it: we’re talking exercise! We discuss why exercising is a more complicated issue than many folks think, what “counts” as exercise, going to the gym, and buying clothes to work out in. I go on several outrageous rants in this episode. Also, Marianne offends blondes and I offend meatheads.

Links mentioned in this episode:


Marianne likes to walk around IKEA, which is really smart. Also you can have a $1 hot dog at the end if you want.

Unbearable Weight, by Susan Bordo, via Google Books

Junonia, of the lying size charts

Punk Rock Aerobics

Dance Dance Party Party

The music heard in this episode is by Dazie Mae.

25 Responses to “Exercise for fun and profit!”

  1. jessica Says:

    Yes! I have been waiting for this one. This fatty listens to podcasts while exercising, so this is awesome 🙂

  2. Abananas Says:

    I loved Mousercise as a kid! My brother and I did it for fun, not for burning calories (what a concept!). I was actually at a bar recently and the DJ played the Mousercise video (on mute) while playing movies. It was tre awesome.

  3. Eve Says:

    OMG my best friend had this when I was little, and we would do it for fun and because we liked the music. We also drew our own much more awesome hopscotch courts and played what we called “elastics” but most Americans call “Chinese jumprope.” And I grew up to be fat and she grew up to be thin. It’s almost like we had different genetics or something.

    Re: exercise, I go to the gym. It’s not the most fun ever, but I do feel really good afterward, and I have noticed several improvements in my subjective health (have not measured objective health). My anxiety levels are lower when I’m working out regularly and my digestion is much improved. At the gym I mostly do the elliptical machine and the treadmill. I’ve been doing some running lately but I find I get tired too quickly when I try to run more than a little. I also like the rowing machine, but can only manage about 5 minutes on it. I’d like to add more interesting exercise to my life, but this is about all I can fit into my busy schedule at the moment, plus I like being able to rest my water bottle on the machine at hand.

    I will listen to the podcast asap!

  4. kimdog Says:

    I confess that I still own Mousercise on the original vinyl. Step in Time was my favorite.

  5. meerkat Says:

    Podcast was really fun. I still hate exercise though.

  6. In which I preach endlessly « Jumbled Words Says:

    […] listened to another episode of Fatcast. They’re up to ten now, with a couple of extra unnumbered episodes thrown in. Yesterday they […]

  7. Laruchka Says:

    I don’t exercise much and want to change that but I have major depression and social phobia–love walking when my mind will let me and yoga used to be great–I enjoyed listening to this–how much good does listening and visualising do?

  8. Laruchka Says:

    Oh P.S. Dancing around the living room is the best and also used to be my favorite–thank you for the reminder.

  9. Heather Says:

    just want to chime in with a qualified pro-Junonia comment… YES, their clothes are outrageously expensive. But they have clearance sales, and I’ve found the workouts clothes to be good investments. I haven’t had problems with the sizing, and the technical fabrics work well (WICK that sweat away, wicker man! Wick it!). Also, they last through many washings, don’t shrink or fade.

    I also enjoy their catalogue because they show the clothes on Smiling Big Lady models in active poses (on bikes, in the pool, etc). It helps me cultivate a positive mental image.

  10. ari Says:

    All of my exercise is incidental, I hate “purposeful” exercise, like, jumping jacks and treadmill and going to the gym. Blah.

    I think the reason some people hate “exercise” is not because of the social connotations, but rather because “exercise” hurts. Sweaty, muscle soreness, out of breath, heart pounding, no. All bad.

    Walking around the mall, running around at work, wrestling with my husband = all okiedoky.

    I’m also reminded of Joy Nash’s comments on exercise from her Fat Rant – “What if I sweat the most? What if I can’t keep up? What if people laugh at the fat girl running around the track?” I used to nearly go into cardiac arrest trying not to pant when I was jogging or exercising in public, because then I’d look like an out-of-shape fattie-pants.

  11. HairyLegs Says:

    Another qualified pro-Junonia comment. I can only afford the clearance stuff, but damn, the wicker-man wicking action is wicked. I also have had some sizing issues, but I find Old Navy exercise gear sizing also completely unpredictable. The Junonia stuff I’ve bought lasts forever and really wears well. The one product I would pay full price for (I already have 2 pairs) are the double-layer no ride up shorts. They are nylon on the top layer, sewed to bike shorts underneath. They wick like nobody’s business, they don’t ride up, are totes comfortable and even have pockets. Why clothes makers don’t think ladies need pockets in exercise gear is beyond me.

  12. clownremover Says:

    A prior poster referred to social phobia, and I can totally relate to that. While I enjoyed working out when I had a gym membership I always felt on edge in that environment, like I was always on the verge of some kind of confrontation. And I hated the always-blaring music. I much prefer walking in the parks around my neck of the woods because I love the silence and the natural environment. There are also plenty of swimming options in the summer (Mills College has a gorgeous pool open to the public at certain hours).

    And I found a wonderful fattie-friendly yoga class here in the Bay Area:
    Sally is a great teacher. I was very skeptical regarding yoga when I first started with her because I always thought it was something for thin people. But I’ve been going now for over two years because the teacher is so good.

  13. cubicalgirl Says:

    For the folks that have gym phobia: in the city where I used to live I joined a community center with gym facilities rather than a name-brand gym. The place wasn’t full of gym bunnies – it was full of poeple of all shapes and sizes from the neighborhood just doing their thing. It was cheaper and less pressure than a regular gym and I took fitness class with all kinds of people who didn’t judge me at all for being an exercising fatty. I moved to a different city last year and my boyfriend and I joined an aquatic center (I love to swim). The center has three huge pools and a little fitness room if you need to work out on dry land. I love taking water aerobics with the fabulous fat old ladies (I’m in my early 30s). And watching them whip off their clothes in the locker room made me realize that we all have bodies; fat or thin, it’s nothing anyone hasn’t seen before.

  14. Adrienne Says:

    Hey Marianne and Lesley! I love listening to your podcasts and reading your blogs. I’m 17, and I’ve really gotten into FA over the past few months. I was wondering if you guys could do a Fat Acceptance 101 episode.

    I have a lot of trouble with my family (mostly my parents, and my aunt-who-is-currently-on-weight-watchers), who don’t really understand the concept, hard as I try and discuss it with them. So, it’s really difficult for me to feel good about myself and apply the principles of FA in my everyday life, when I’m constantly being pressured and nagged about my body and my health by the people I love.
    I’ve tried to introduce them to the concept of FA, but I guess I’m not so great at conveying these things or perhaps I’m not that convincing? (or maybe it’s because I’m 17, I’m still a “child,” so therefore my opinions “don’t matter,” or this is just a “phase I’m going through,” or I haven’t actually done my research, and this is just some sort of fad thing I’m clinging onto because I’m too lazy to lose weight *rolls eyes*).

    But, say there were some sort of hour-long podcast discussion that introduces the basics of FA, which I could pop into the car CD player on a road trip or something, they could at least understand what my beliefs are, and won’t try and push diets or Weight Watchers on me (even after I’ve attempted to discuss FA with my aunt, she actually offered to take me to one of her Weight Watchers meetings to “see what it’s like,” as if everything we talked about didn’t even matter). I’ve tried at least getting my mom to read some articles, or Linda Bacon’s HAES book (a copy of which I am now a proud owner ^_^), but she refuses. I even got her to watch Joy Nash’s Fat Rant, and she still doesn’t really understand.
    I weigh about 260 pounds or about a size 20, so if anything, she thinks that FA is for people who aren’t as heavy as me.
    Theeeennn, there’s my Dad. He’s never really said anything. But once, I was watching the trailer for a documentary about fat, and he comes in and says “Oh god, not this Fat shit again…”
    That’s the only comment he’s ever made about the subject.

    So, as you can see, I’m having some difficulties, and I feel like the online community is the only place I have to turn, and it would be awesome if I had even one person in real life on my side.
    Soo, do you two think you could do some sort of FA 101 episode? I’m sure I’m not the only one with this kind of situation, and some sort of FA intro would probably help kickstart some sort of discussion between me and my family.
    I don’t want to try and convert them to be FA fanatics (though that would be AWESOME), but if they could at least understand where I’M coming from, and know where I stand, they could leave me alone, or perhaps even support me.

    Haha, I didn’t realize that was going to be so long. Thanks for listening. Love your show!

  15. Adrienne Says:

    Oh, and I can’t believe I forgot to mention this!

    My family (my mom, aunts, uncles and cousins) have been doing a weight loss competition.

    Uh huh.

    They have a weekly weigh-in, and they email their numbers to each other (we don’t all live in close proximity). Everyone throws in 30 dollars or something like that, and whoever loses the most weight gets the jackpot. Ugh.
    One email from my uncle said “I’ll keep ya’ll posted as I fade into skinny oblivion…”


    Okay, I swear I’m done now. (FA Intro episode? Please pretty please with a cherry on top?)

  16. Andrea Says:

    I don’t really know where to throw out interesting links for the fatosphere, but I saw this on my universities homepage and thought it was relevant to the exercise discussion, given that the professor is in Kinesiology. http://www4.uwm.edu/news/features/details.cfm?customel_datapageid_11602=3436934

  17. Lizalou Says:

    I have had similar experiences with Junonia. I check my measurements, I find the appropriate size, and the received garments are at least two sizes too big. I also find that the rise on the pants is way too long. I have a stomach, and I can still pull them up to just under my breasts. I have spent a ridiculous amount on shipping back and forth and I think I’ve only ever kept 1 article of clothing. I’m pretty much done with them.

  18. The Hooker from "Demons" Says:

    I love you both! I want you to please have guests on the show. You are both very good at spotting and qualifying opinions as classist, racist, sexist, etc. Let’s hear some working class fatties, fatties of color, and trans fats! I think Max Airborne would be a great guest. Also maybe Bill Fabrey or Daniel Pinkwater? Naomi Lowe would be good! Hey can you get your men to have a men’s forum one day???? How about Susan Stinson, Hanne Blank, Charlotte Cooper, Dot Nelson-Turnier or Judy Freespirit? I’d love to hear from veteran FA freedom fighters!!!!

    Maybe you could even have a couple blog writers or just blog readers on as guests!

  19. paperkingdoms Says:

    Something else to check out for people who are into the dancing thing, is 5Rhythms. There’s a sort of spiritual aspect to it, too, but if you show up to a Sweat Your Prayers session, it’s a bunch of people, dancing, and you do your thing. I s’pose I can’t speak to it anywhere but Lawrence, KS… but the group here is awesome. (I don’t know that I’d call it specifically fat positive, but it is physicality positive, and being where you are positive, if that makes any sense.) So another option for other places, if it sounds like your thing.

  20. Sarah Says:

    I am not sure if this came up in the podcast, but regarding gym phobia, everyone’s there for a common, positive purpose. I genuinely don’t think I am in the minority when I say that every time I see fat people working out, my first thought is, pardon the French, “Rock the fuck on, dude.”

    Another option, if you are in a city with a gayborhood, is to join a gym there. Total no-hassle zone regardless of your weight.

    My gym phobia is related to my complete lack of coordination and ability to properly use the bloody equipment despite much instruction. I can only seem to swim diagonally, hence laps are out of the question, lest I get tangled in those tubes that separate the lanes and/or kick my fellow swimmers in the face. Treadmill, same thing…Can only seem to run in the style that a drunk person swerves across lanes in a highway. I have no idea how I have not lost digits or limbs on weight machines, but I have over done weight machines so significantly that I had to walk on my tip toes with my entire body bent into the shape of a C to avoid severe pain for days after. I belong nowhere near a gym.

    To that end, I have been through 3 ellipticals in 6 years….I do 60-90 minutes a day and they all seem to crap out after two years at that rate of use. They are quiet and take up less space than most other aparatus…if you happen to live in a city where Craigslist is not merely lots of scammers asking you to cash their Western Union money order, you can find freakishly cheap, very good quality ellipticals almost any day of the week. I imagine a huge percent of people who buy those things, after a week or two, use them as clunky clothes hangers. Nothing I’ve found is as good as the super high end models at the gym (too big for a house anyway) that are meant to be used all day by lots of people, but very good models for under $50-200. It seems like the cheapest of the non-commercial models support up to 250 lbs, and if you go one step up, they support 300 lbs (which probably means 350 lbs in reality).

    Be especially vigilant at the end of the month, when leases are up and everyone’s moving…Ellipticals and treadmills always seem to be the lowest priority when it comes to deciding what needs to stay or go when the moving truck is full and there’s still the couch to load. If you find someone in this situation, submit a ridiculously low ball offer and tell them you can be there in 10 minutes with a truck.

    Working out in my own living room with loads of trashy, brain candy t.v. to keep me company, where I just need a sports bra and my husband’s boxers and don’t need to worry about overpriced gym wear is super efficient and makes me feel way less guilty about tuning in to the Real Housewives in all its incarnations.

    And seriously, rock the fuck on. Give it a couple of weeks and you won’t think twice.

  21. Veronica Says:

    I have a few things to say, so I’m going to start at the (literal) top and work my way down. I love the new header! I think it would be a really good starting point for another flyer *hint, hint*. – Writing this I decided I’m gonna hang some of your flyers at my school when university picks up in the fall. You never know, you might get some more Norwegian listeners:)

    Marianne’s theory of people trying to control their bodies because they feel like the world around them is out of control is terribly interesting! I wouldn’t say the world has actually gotten more out of control, but I do see a corrolation between people’s awareness of the world and the furthering of the diet/gym culture.

    I’m disappointed Juonia is such a bust, I hadn’t gotten around to ordering from them, but I had hopes. I’m sharing a link to an other fatty workout gear shop in case I’m not the only one who now seriously has to reconsider one of her links http://www.gofigurego.com .

    I think sitting outside of this theater has made me kind of theatrical. Omg, the lolz!

    I just really, really enjoyed this episode (in case you had any doubts)!

  22. Heather Says:

    I love this podcast and found this episode especially thought-provoking.

    I loved what Marianne said about enjoying the power and substance of her big body in motion, and Lesley’s porpoise/gazelle images. Woo hoo! Me too! When I hike, I imagine that I’m a sturdy, patient trail horse. Up that mountain one step at a time. Good trail horses don’t hurry.

    Do you really find that gym exercise has no relation to real-life activity? True, not the same … but I do find that training on the elliptical and the stationary bike build my strength and stamina for hiking and real-world biking. The machines are easier because you don’t have to deal with real-world stuff like traffic and terrain and wind resistance and sun/heat… but they do build muscle and endurance. I’m finding weekend outdoor activity more rewarding since I’ve been using gym machines during the week.

  23. meerkat Says:

    Second everything ari said! (Except I have only cats to wrestle with.)

  24. Bree Says:

    So, Im recovering from bronchitis and Im horribly missing going for my walks. That is all I have to say about excersise.


    Swim with a floral print, swim cap!

  25. Deborah Says:

    For workout wear….and leggings… I would suggest the Danskin plus size section. http://www.danskin.com/plus I’ve been ordering from them for years. The sizes have been consistent. Orders can be sorta pricey….however… I have gotten shorts that I wear on a daily basis under skirts and they have lasted alot longer than other clothes that I have bought. Also, I have super sensitive skin and will break out if I wear too much clothing with high percentages of synthetic fabric content… you can get workout wear that wears well, doesn’t shrink, and is 95% cotton. Its wonderful.

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