I’ve been throwing in some self-indulgence after a workout lately.  My gym has a good whirlpool, so after a hard workout, I soak for awhile.

I should probably be doing it for no other reason than soreness prevention, but I’m really doing it because it feels good.  I don’t always have time after a workout.  On days when I’m teaching computer classes, especially if I’m also opening at the gym, I’ve barely enough time to get in a short workout on the weights. Forget a good swim and a soak.

I kind of wish that the end of the day would be a good time to work out.  With my schedule and basic personal rhythm, morning workouts tend to get done.  I’ll blow off an evening workout.  But the wonderful relaxation I feel after a hard swim and a good soak in the hot tub would definitely be conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Thing is, if I work out in the mornings, I’m considerably lesslikely to blow off the workout, which is more or less why I do it.

Question for the female swimmers, how in hell do you keep a decent manicure?  I’m finding that for the most part, my nails are softer and polish peels right off.  I’m not talking long daggers here, but nicely-filed shortish fingernails.

Pleasure and Profit

I’m finishing up a pair of burgundy pants.  Since I already have a pair of black dress pants that fit well and go well with the new wardrobe I made, these pants will be the end of Stage One of my Sewing with a Plan experiment.

I was talking to someone who said that sewing isn’t cheaper than going to Wal-mart.

Now, I do shop at stores like that often, and sometimes do find deals there!  But the money-saving wardrobe aspects really depends on a lot of factors.  Because I’m a reasonably experienced seamstress (hem! hem!), it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be able to get something off the rack that will fit nearly as well as something I’ve made myself.  I can’t buy something in Wal-mart with a custom fit.  It’s simply not available.  But even throwing fit aside, can I find clothes at Wal-mart “just as cheap”?

Eh, sometimes I can. And when I do, I buy them.  I’d be highly unlikely to make myself sweat pants, a sports bra, or a t-shirt I was intending to work out in.  While I learned to sew to save money, it was more for historical costuming (which is gut-wrenchingly expensive if you cannot sew) than it was for a personal wardrobe.

I wouldn’t recommend sewing as a money-saving technique, necessarily, unless you really like it.  I do, which is what makes it worthwhile.  Yes, I get a garment whose material price is cheaper than what I’m likely to pay in a store,  I get the hours of pleasure making it, and the additional kick out of wearing something I made myself.  I don’t think I’ll ever get over that!  Opening my closet and seeing the garments I made for myself hanging all neatly organized gives me a wonderful sense of satisfaction.  But even the process of sewing, the smell of the fabric when I’m pressing down a seam, the sense of wonder of turning a 2D piece of fabric into a 3D creation, the puzzle-solving satisfaction of putting together a pair of pants with pockets, the way that the machine loops the thread to make a stitch in a way that seems like magic, all of that is all just fun to me.

But if I didn’t enjoy sewing, I don’t think it would be worthwhile at all.   All those hours of aggravation would not be worth the money I’d saved doing it, even if I did force myself to develop the skill necessary to sew well enough to be saving money.  I think that’d be too much like work and I could earn more money in other, more pleasant ways.  Ultimately, sewing is just a hobby I have that pays for itself, that’s all.

Analysis of BMI

BMIThe expression BMI gets thrown out a lot lately, but it seems to me that very few people — either health professionals talking about weight, or people who talk about the fact that skinny is a lousy metric of health understand very well.

BMI means Body Mass Index. It’s a height/weight ratio. That’s it.  It doesn’t measure what the weight is composed of (muscle, bone, adipose tissue, water bloating or anything).  It’s just what you get when you step on a scale.  Most adult male athletes would be considered overweight or obese by BMI standards.  Clearly this is a measurement that leaves much to be desired.

It was developed somewhere between 1830 and 1850 by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian scientist who was trying to develop a discipline known as Social Physics. This was basically the study of Man by means of statistical measurements.  Because many of his theories were not well thought of by his peers, the discipline of sociology supplanted it not long afterwards.

Quetelet did work in the public health sector, where his formula of BMI was applied to issues of health of the day.  Thing is, these measurements were used to establish an average based on the 1840-1850 set of measurements he took.  “Average” was then taken as a baseline for “acceptably healthy”.

Friends, barring cancer, almost anyone reading this is far healthier than the average person of the 19th century.  Our mothers were better nourished while we were gestating.  Our medical care — even if it was sub-standard, was better than was even available then.    Losing a child has gone from something routine that most mothers faced to something unusual and unexpected.  I have a friend who’d be facing death in childbirth in the next few weeks if it weren’t for obstetrical advances.

I wanna chuck the BMI for one reason: It’s bad science. It’s a statistical measurement based on environmental conditions that no longer exist compared to conditions we no longer find desirable.  We’ve got better ways to measure health now.  Let’s use ’em.