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Here’s a tip for everyone fortunate to have this as a choice: When you turn 30, do it in Paris. When I hit that milestone, I was surrounded by women who had figured out the ageless aesthetic. As in, not trying to look young—but each beaming with her own individual brand of sexy sunshine. And most had a (much) younger man in tow. It was a sight I had not seen stateside.
My friends and I, who’d all been fixated on the big 3-0 for months, were smitten. And freed from the arbitrary tick-tock that the world constantly reminds you of. It seemed that, at least in France, ageism had taken a holiday that summer.
So when I read Pamela Druckerman’s column in The New York Times, “The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Frenchwoman,” it was like a pillar of the body-inclusivity house had been smashed. Because the ageless are agitated in France. What happened? In an interview in the French edition of Marie Claire, a prominent writer and intellectual sounded off about his lack of attraction to women his age (50)—and that fact that he prefers Asian women in their 20s.
You do not eff with France’s legendarily ageless sex goddesses.
Druckerman argues that the writer, Yann Moix, didn’t commit a sin in the sex-positive country by having specific preferences—it was just that he was just so gauche about it. And he set off a firestorm in response. “‘You don’t look a day under 65,’ one woman tweeted to him. ‘I hope you’re lonely until you’re 100,’ another wrote. They insulted his literary talent and his under-eye bags, and speculated about his wounded psyche,” Druckerman writes.
On the upside: They’re mad as hell, and they’re not taking it anymore. Historically, French feminists have shied away from this kind of public condemnation because of the shaming involved—like Deneuve, they’ll often argue that it’s a slippery slope toward puritanism and a life devoid of eroticism. And the idea that women are victims of anything is seen as an affront to the badass feminine power they wield with skill. But it seems that l’affaire Moix has stirred them to take action. And admittedly, this palpable anger may have been boiling beneath the surface for a while: After all, France made catcalling illegal a few months ago.
For guidance on what to do when turmeric stains strike, I turned to a few people who deal with this issue on the reg: healthy chefs. And as it turns out, the fix involves ingredients that you’ve probably already got in your kitchen.
Brooke Rewa, founder and CEO of Made With Love Wellness Co., has a similar technique. When she gets drops of liquid turmeric on her clothes or kitchen towels while handling her brand’s juices and mylks, she says “blotting with vinegar and warm water is the way to go.” (She’s got an equally brilliant hack for avoiding turmeric stains altogether. “I suggest always preparing turmeric dishes in the nude,” Rewa jokes.)
And what if you get a turmeric stain on your clothes while you’re out and about, without access to vinegar or dish soap? Find a lemon slice ASAP and dab its juice on the stain—you can find one at pretty much any restaurant and it’ll work as a natural bleach, says Maeve Richmond of home organization company Maeve’s Method. Then, do the full stain-removal process when you get home. Fashion crisis, averted.
And even if you think that the kids are getting an unfair shake—a la reality show stars who complain about the way they were edited—the fact remains that what happened in the video happened, no matter what preceded or followed it. So, we need to deal with it. Like I said, deep breaths.
What if we gave the wisest voices a moment to have their say?
As this plays out in the echo chambers of TV news and Twitter, those screaming the loudest (or typing the fastest) will get the most coverage and retweets. But hot takes go cold quickly. And you’re left with: not much. What if we gave the wisest voices a moment to have their say? Like the famous Mr. Rogers quote about scary situations (“look for the helpers“), at times like this there are some voices I routinely seek out.
So here’s some Sunday reading: thoughts from brains that have committed years of their lives to mindful contemplation or cultural commentary or just general deep thoughts. So that, instead of re-watching the videos (or worse, listening to the disingenous arguments from pundits on TV who, let’s face it, should just have wrestler names at this point), you can start your week with some wisdom. Clearly the kids need that from us.
Here’s my (very subjective) list of speakers to add to your news diet this week, as the national conversation on the MAGA hat-wearing kids goes on.
1 Ethan Nichtern, author of The Dharma of The Princess Bride
Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala lineage, is maybe the most pop culture-savvy Buddhist voice around.
The boy in the MAGA hat looks insecure, on the spot, performing for friends because he thinks he must, terrified of everything he can categorize as “other.”
It’s exactly the kind of fear every privileged (white) human needs to be able to name in ourselves.
File this under “good advice is always timely.” The beloved Buddhist teacher (and author of When Things Fall Apart) hasn’t even tweeted for a while—but I got a spark of inspiration from her feed, anyway. The greats never go out of style.
OKCupid gets no respect. Or at least, not that much. Back when it launched as a website in 2004, the fact that it was free (as opposed “serious relationship” sites like Match and eHarmony) gave it a Craigslist-light identity. While its raunch factor was nowhere near what you’d find on “Casual Encounters,” OKCupid’s audience definitely skewed younger—and finding a hookup or someone who shared your particular kink was part of the mix.
Today, as a digital dating survivor that’s still in the cultural conversation along with Bumble and Tinder, OKCupid is nevertheless still struggling to be the prettiest girl at the dance, so to speak. But it shouldn’t. As far as I’m concerned, OKCupid is the new Humans of New York.
Remember when you first saw Humans of New York? Brandon Stanton’s portraiture of everyday people, and the off-the-cuff comments he miraculously pulled out of them, suddenly made all the slumped shoulders and blank faces on the subway look like untapped potential: so many poignant, poetic secrets waiting to be revealed.
With OKCupid, instead of shining a light on the humanity hidden beneath urban armor, the platform seems to be giving men a venue for expressing their hopes and dreams.
I know, that’s a lot to say about an app where a grown man wearing a “Thank You for Being a Slut” trucker hat told me I had a “beautiful and mysterious smile.” (Thanks but no thanks, Chris.)
I know, that’s a lot to say about an app where a grown man wearing a “Thank You for Being a Slut” trucker hat told me I had a “beautiful and mysterious smile.” (Thanks but no thanks, Chris.) And yes, I do get a zillion messages from Christian Grey wannabes looking for submissives: “Normal, fun, personable, attractive guy who just happens to be sexually dominant!”
But for me, the value of OKCupid is in all the lengthy written profiles (something that the swipe-right apps don’t have). These guys have so much to say—and so much of it is educational. Honestly, mansplaining was never so much fun.
I’d never heard this quote from Spanish poet Antonio Machado, for instance: “Hoy es siempre todavia,” which translates roughly to “Today is ever always.” But I’ve thought about it nearly every day for the past month. (Thanks, David! You’ve re-ignited the “what is time, anyway” and “reality is a construct” parts of my brain, without getting high in a dorm room. Good times.)
Then there’s Sergei, who says he thinks a lot about the Order People vs. Chaos People section of Tom Bissell’s short story Death Defier. Very relevant to my interests (and yours, I’m guessing) is this quote: “Countries did indeed go insane. Sometimes they went insane and stayed insane.”
And how about this extremely concise analysis of capitalism: “Wow (as Marx himself was well aware), it’s good at creating prosperity! Wow, its toxic logic seeps into and destroys everything!” Nice one, James. Brevity will get you everywhere.
It’s all making me feel the same way about my fellow humans that HONY did: radically compassionate. I mean, all these men are on OKCupid to find a date, and they’re giving so much of themselves beyond what any date would want to know. They just want to be heard so much, it’s heartbreaking.
So, don’t sleep on OKCupid. Or on its old-school ways, keeping exposition alive in the dating-app world. (And music recs, and favorite quotes, if you like that kind of thing—and I think by now you know that I do.) For any world-weary woman in the #MeToo era who’s starting to feel like every man is one power play away from being a monster, here’s your safe space. Just listen, just lurk, or hit up every single person you could imagine making out with—it’s up to you. Do whatever you like. But, as always: Avoid trucker hats.
Unsubscribing will set me free. Or at least, this is what I’m telling myself during my big declutter of 2019, digital edition. Thanks to Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix, decluttering is having (another) big moment, and we’re all trying to use the KonMari method to minimize our mess. I’m starting with promo emails. I know, starting there sounds small. But since my promo emails tell my entire life story so far— documenting every event I’ve attended, every school I’ve gone to, every passing enthusiasm I thought I’d want to stay up on—tossing one can be as hard as a letter from an ex-best friend.
At least the problem is common, if not the category of clutter. “People hold onto their possessions for many reasons, but one important reason is that these possessions have meaning,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD and professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “The way to let go of clutter is to examine the meaning each item has and ask yourself what will happen if you dispose of it. The chances are that you’ll recognize you will be fine after you do so.”
Ok, so if I can examine the meanings and origins of each mailing list, it’ll be easier to decide what goes and what stays. The problem is, I can’t really “tidy by category, not by location” nor can I take my emails to Beacon’s Closet where it will inevitably be rejected by some chick with Bettie Page bangs. I have to think outside the inbox (ew, gross).
So for your consideration, here is the GarMary method for cleaning up your inbox clutter.
Photo: Getty Images/ lenina11only
Don’t cling to someone you were in high school
Michaels was probably my first promo email from back when I was making a fashion design portfolio. And talk about emotional attachments, I haven’t yet hit unsubscribe…until now. This one I definitely held onto because some part of me wanted to believe I’m still artistic, when the reality is that my creativity extends to humorously Photoshopped birthday cards.
I guess next time I’m feeling Pinterest-y I’ll just buy a fish bowl, fill it with green sand, and then toss it in the trash six months later. Seriously, who has time for a Mermaid Garden?
Know the difference between a main squeeze and a side chick, brand-wise
I have an Abbi Abrams-esque obsession with Bed Bath & Beyond. My boyfriend took me there for 1/3 of date night Friday and I was in home-goods heaven. It does genuinely “spark joy,” which means I’ll allow the constant stream of 20 percent-off coupons. On the flipside, I don’t need to keep up with Overstock on an everyday basis. I’m grateful for the hot pink carpet in my living room, but that’s enough of a reminder of our brief fling.
Hold up: Do you even go to this school?
I transferred out of my Philadelphia college rapid-fire fast, so the chances of me driving two hours up to see a concert at the Franklin Music Hall are slim to none. Double that for the mid-sized venue near my New Jersey hometown. If I don’t see Papa Roach or Sublime with Rome this year, I’m sure I’ll deal.
Likewise, you don’t owe anyone who put you thousands of dollars in student debt anything
I enjoyed my time at Rutgers, don’t get me wrong. I basically had a minor in “The Internet,” which meant I was learning about memes for school credit. So in a KonMari-approved move, I’m gonna say “thank you” before I say goodbye.
However, it’s been five years since graduation. I truly don’t need discount tickets for football games. Also, I thought I unsubscribed from these emails already?
Remember, anyone who refers to you as Mary is not your friend
Actually, this might be a me-specific thing. Incidentally it applied to many emails where I clicked “I never signed up for this list” on the exit survey.
Sure, you can laugh at my methods for digital decluttering. Yet when all was said and done, I removed myself from 23 mailing lists just by being emotionally honest with myself. And that makes sense for a life lived online; there’s still so many reminders of who I once was. And whether digital or physical, being true to yourself and what gives you joy is still the route of what will clear up your world.
The week kicks off with last night’s total lunar blood moon eclipse in Leo. Meaning, chances are you might feel a wee bit tired, depending on how well you sleep when the moon is both close and bright. To make matters even more interesting, Mars (the planet of action) makes a tough angle to Saturn, which represent discipline, early today, too. While you might feel tempted to rush out the door this morning, don’t. Take it slow and be careful. These transits command respect, not force.
Take it slow and be careful. These transits command respect, not force.
This morning, stay mindful and minimize the risk of accidents. Eclipses work in 19-year cycles, and this particular eclipse correlated with the north node, asking you to release old stories that hold you back from owning your purpose. Like a cosmic force of feng shui, your life might feel rearranged. Give yourself the time and space you need to adjust. Don’t forget the power of magnesium to calm your nervous system effectively. New to magnesium supplements? Experiment with including magnesium glycinate this week and see how you feel. Taking it at night is said to support restful sleep.
One of the absolute best transits of the month occurs today: Jupiter, the planet of good luck and good fortune, conjoins Venus, the planet of love. Yes. This combination of two beneficial planets supports your growth, immensely. So, stay focused on your desires, not your fears. Since the start of the year, the cosmos dropped us in the astrological deep end of the pool. After all, kicking the year off with two eclipses, the sun conjoining Saturn and then Pluto, and Uranus (the planet of change) squaring the nodes of fate and the sun was no small task.
One of the absolute best transits of the month occurs today: Jupiter, the planet of good luck and good fortune, conjoins Venus, the planet of love. Yes.
Yet, amidst the accelerated path of transformation cosmically bestowed, the Universe weaved beautiful jewels too. Today one of them perfects (though you might’ve felt it before now). Even amidst struggle, there are moments of ease. Stay focused on the positive. January’s cosmic weather brought what was beneath the surface to a head, clearing the path for the new year ahead.
Mercury, the planet of communication, comes into a perfect square (sharp angle) with Uranus while sextiling (soft angle) Chiron. If you don’t get the news you want, trust something better is just around the corner. Remember, Uranus, in his final weeks in Aries, wants to make sure you are integrating your lessons of personal transformation. His abrupt communication with Mercury today might be leaving you feeling a bit disappointed. However, take a step back look at the big picture. What potentials are opening up before you? Is it time to consider an alternative path? Don’t worry if it doesn’t come in the package you initially wanted.
Mercury, the planet of communication, wraps up its stay in Capricorn today, heading into Aquarius, where it’ll meet the sun. Aquarius, a sign that represents the need for evolution and change, feels very different than the steadfast goal-oriented focus of Capricorn, which means the pendulum swings from the disciplined focus towards the desire for freedom. As this shift happens, think back to the intentions you set for yourself at the start of the new year. Remember your tenacity, drive, and determination.
Think back to the intentions you set for yourself at the start of the new year. Remember your tenacity, drive, and determination.
True freedom stems from confidence. A prerequisite for confidence? Staying in integrity with your truth. More than your weight, appearance, bank account, or relationship status, integrity matters. As the majority of people abandon their once stalwart focus on their 2019 goals right around now, choose to remain congruent with your truth!
With the end of the week here, the cosmos support Fri-Yay, for sure. Take a moment and look back on the week and recap all that you did. I mean?! Honor yourself— you are resilient, full of grit and grace. Despite the challenges, you showed up and slayed. Then get ready for some support. Mars, the planet of action, which currently travels through its home domain of Aries makes a perfect trine to good luck Jupiter, which travels in its own domain of Sagittarius. This fire trine refuels the tank of optimism. Tune into what you are grateful for. Keep a growth mindset. Allow yourself to dream. When it comes to fitness, be certain to squeeze in a sweaty class with a positive, upbeat teacher. Not only will your body thank you, but so will your spirit.
With the last weekend of January in full roar, and the moon waning, take time to process the month that just came and went so fast. Remember, there aren’t any retrograde planets and Mars, the planet of action, travels in its own sign, Aries—meaning things are going quick. With critical decisions being made fast, give yourself time to check in today.
Invite in your wisdom and guidance, maybe even pull a tarot card or two, and listen to what she has to say.
Perhaps through writing (Mercury is in the intellectual sign of Aquarius, a sign it loves), or via meditation and mindful movement, take an hour or two today to see how you are, really. (Do a thorough check in with your heart.) Invite in your wisdom and guidance, maybe even pull a tarot card or two, and listen to what she has to say.
The moon in Scorpio squares the sun in Aquarius today, marking the halfway point between the recent full moon lunar eclipse and the upcoming lunar new year new moon in Aquarius. Now’s the time to release the clutter in your life, and get organized. Waning quarter moons ask you to clear out that which you no longer need and make room for what’s to come. So, spending time today organizing proves incredibly fruitful.
Jennifer Racioppi is the creator of Lunar Logic—a philosophy that integrates the deep wisdom of both science and spirituality, and blends her expertise in astrology, positive psychology, and women’s health—to coach high-achieving female entrepreneurs to reach their next level of success.
I like to think I’m pretty clean when it comes to my apartment. Putting away laundry is no problemo for me. I wipe down counters like a fiend, and I even clean the kitchen as I cook so that there’s no mess after I’m done eating (genius, I know). But then in the bathroom one recent morning, I noticed a… funky scent. It was emanating from the shower, which is how I discovered my A+ hygienic habits had overlooked one oft-forgotten part of the cleaning process. Whoops. That smell? Yeah, it was mold forming on my shower curtain.
Here’s the thing about shower curtains: “It’s less about cleaning and more about letting them dry properly,” says Maeve Richmond, organization guru and the founder and coach of Maeve’s Method. Personally, I only realized that stretching out your shower curtain is a thing when I got new roommates and they always spread it out after they showered. (Up to this point, I’d just left it scrunched to the side after turning off the taps.) Richmond, though, helped me see the error of my ways.
“If you think about it, if a wet curtain is smushed, then there’s just water sitting in there all day long,” she explains. “So mold can grow.” And since plenty of people are allergic to mold and because of its potential impact on your breathing, it’s key to keep an eye on the condition of your shower curtain. Below are four best practices to follow if you want to avoid a similar smelly situation to the one I found myself confronted with.
Keep things dry
The most important thing is to avoid moisture. Of course, your shower curtain is going to get wet—that’s it’s job, to prevent water from getting all over your bathroom. But the key is to make sure it can dry out on its own after that. “Think of the shower curtain as part of your morning experience,” says Richmond. “They’re designed to stay splayed out. When you’re done showering, restore your shower curtain by opening it up and letting it dry properly.” If you have a shower liner, she says to keep that inside the tub and the outer curtain outside it, so that air can flow in between the two. Windows can also help—”if a window is open nearby, fresh air and perhaps a breeze will help speed that drying process up,” she says.
Choose the right material
The simplest material to work with is plastic. “It’s the easiest to clean, it’s durable, and it won’t wrinkle,” says Richmond. But if you want a more eco-friendly product, you can go with canvas. “Canvas does well around water and will keep its shape,” she says. “It’s not completely waterproof, so use a shower liner to keep it as dry as possible.” Sometimes canvas options can even be coated in the back to protect it from moisture. You’ll also see silk or satin shower curtains on the shelves, but Richmond advises to avoid these. “They’re glamorous but not water-resistant, so stay away unless your curtain liner is sturdy and large,” she says.
Clean it (It’s possible)
When I ponder how to actually clean a shower curtain, my brain hurts. It seems difficult. But Richmond says all you really have to do is spritz it once in a while. “Hit it with a store-bought cleanser, or a homemade solution of baking soda, vinegar, and water,” she says, which can take care of any mold that’s formed, too. “If it washes while hanging, great—if the stains or mold are tough, take the curtain down and machine wash it (if you can) or just soak the yucky parts in a bucket or your sink in a cleaning solution of your choice.” And if it doesn’t come out, hit up the next step.
When all else fails, replace it. “A good curtain could last you a year to five, no problem…with cleanings in between, of course, but if it is not well maintained, or it rips to stains or is subject to heavy use, you may find yourself needing to swap it out once a year,” says Richmond. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing—think of it as the easiest way to spruce up your bathroom. “Shower curtains are fun, and an easy, inexpensive way to shake up your home decor,” she says. “It’s a way to give your space a friendly makeover.” Maybe you’ll finally find an opportunity to try out the turmeric yellow home trend.
There’s nothing more annoying than going through your 10-step skin-care routine thinking it will give you glowing, radiant skin…only to be left with a finish that more closely resembles a pilling old sweater. You know what I’m talking about: When something mysterious in your beauty regimen decides to start rebelling, and instead of soaking calmly and obediently into your epidermis, forms into tiny balls that sit on top of the surface and just. won’t. go. away.
Since no one wants their skin-care to resemble winter layers that’ve been washed a few too many times, what gives? “Pilling happens when you are rubbing a skin-care product on the skin and it never quite soaks in. As you rub it in, the product is pilling, or collecting on top of the skin,” says Purvisha Patel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. “It means the product’s being hindered from absorbing and is just coming back off. There’s an occlusive barrier that’s preventing absorption, and it happens if too many products are used at the same time, or in the wrong order.”
There’s one ingredient that’s usually to blame for the issue: Polymers. “Skin pilling is usually do to incompatibility of products used together, and is typically caused by polymers,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “Polymers are used to form a film on skin for a longer lasting effect, but if the ratio is too much or you’re using something else silicone-based or oil-based, you will see pilling.”
You’ll know there’s a potential pill-causer in your product if you see ingredients ending in -icone, -conol, or -xane, according to Dr. Patel. So think of the product with polymer as saran wrap: Everything you put on top of it won’t penetrate what’s underneath. You can still use them, though—just be sure to do it wisely. Dr. Patel’s tip? “Apply products from thinnest to thickest, starting with water-based serums to thicker creams.” It’ll also help if you simply use less products that have more active ingredients, which means you’ll get the maximum results with minimum layering.
The last bit of advice to follow? Make sure you’re exfoliating enough. The dead skin cells on your face need to be removed, and if they aren’t sloughed off, they can form a blockade that keeps your products from entering your complexion. “Exfoliating properly before product application also helps to remove oil and residue that could hinder product absorption,” adds Dr. Patel. Now you’re on your way to pill-free product use 365.
If I’m spending an hour in the gym, you better believe that I’m trying to get the most out of my time there. And that usually means: a full-body burn that pushes your muscles (and your sweat glands) to the max. But ask any trainer worth their barbells and they’ll tell you that low-intensity cardio is a integral part of any workout regimen.
While walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes or pedaling away on a recumbent bike may not feel like the most exciting (or admittedly, most efficient) ways to exercise, they’re still critically important for rounding out your routine. (And a part of this year’s trend toward cortisol-conscious workouts.) “It’s just as important to have steady-pace runs and low-impact workouts as it is to have those higher-threshold workouts. And being able to balance the two not only makes you more versatile, but it really kind of lays the foundation,” says Aaptiv trainer Megan Takacs. “It’s almost like you don’t want to go into a sprint workout without having an endurance pace, and that low-intensity training is really the foundation for any other workout you might do.”
“Low-intensity stuff breaks up the training at a certain threshold that brings your body back down to a normal level of operation, so that when you go to do the high-intensity you’re not burned out.” —Trainer Megan Takacs
She suggests introducing slower-paced, lower-impact cardio sessions into your routine twice (maybe even three times) a week in order to change things up for your body and ultimately make your harder-core workouts more effective. “Low-intensity stuff breaks up the training at a certain threshold that brings your body back down to a normal level of operation, so that when you go to do the high-intensity you’re not burned out,” says Takacs.
To help your body get the most out of every workout (even the snail-paced ones), she recommends alternating between high- and low-intensity days at the gym. “So let’s say you do a really hard sprint workout with a strength-training session. Instead of doing that again, that next day would be your low-intensity day,” she says. “It’s still just as necessary because it helps you to build that foundation, but it kind of breaks [things] up, too, so your body never really knows what to expect. It keeps your muscle memory on your toes, because if you do the same workout every day at the same level of intensity, you plateau, and you actually lose fitness instead of gaining it.”
Whether you’re a treadmill titan or a spin class queen, the difference between high- and low-intensity days mainly comes down to effort, and keeping your heart rate below a certain threshold. “People have to be super conscious, because when you work out you want to get the most out of it, but it’s important to have those days where you really hold back,” says Takacs. “It makes the athlete more conscious of what they put into things.” So basically, as difficult/frustrating/annoying as it may be, taking a slow day will ultimately help you in the long run.
“Any cardio workout where your heart rate remains moderate and lasts at least 10 minutes would be considered LISS [or low-intensity steady state cardio],” nutritionist and certified personal trainer Gabbi Berkow has said. “A brisk walk that’s at least 10 to 15 minutes, a 30-minute bike ride, using the elliptical at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes, rowing at a steady pace for 15 minutes, a light jog that lasts at least 10 minutes, doing 30 to 40 minutes of light aerobics, or swimming for at least 15 minutes would all be considered LISS cardio.”
And fear not: “Slow” doesn’t necessarily have to mean boring. Here, Takacs and celeb trainer Ashley Borden share their tips for low-intensity days.
Photo: Getty/Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm
Embrace the slow run
While it may be tempting to sprint it out, in this case slow and steady really could help you win the race. “For my running clients and listeners, I recommend doing what I call conversation-pace runs, where it’s kind of just a light jog, and you do it just to develop that aerobic level of fitness,” says Takacs.
Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Walk it out
Take things even slower and steadier by walking (yes, it counts as a workout) instead of going for an all-out run. “A lot of advanced athletes that I train I recommend doing a 30-minute inclined walking workout once a week just to give your body a break and kind of relax,” says Takacs. “But it also jumbles up your muscle memory because you’re using different muscles, using a different aerobic pathway, and the more versatile you can be in your training mechanisms as well as what pathways you’re using aerobically or anaerobically, it makes you a more well-rounded athlete.”
Photo: Getty Images/PeopleImages
Head to yoga
“One of the best ways to look at low intensity strength training is working flexibility and mobility work, so the more that you can improve your range of motion the more you’re setting yourself up for success when you do intense workouts,” says Takacs, who recommends taking a day or two to do a workout in which the main focus is moving your body, a la yoga. “You’re not bringing your heart rate up, there’s no weights involved, but you’re more conscious about your movement patterns and you’re improving your flexibility which is the foundation for any kind of strength training with weights.” Any type of yoga (ideally at room temperature instead of hot) that focuses on breathing and light stretching applies.
Do a slow row
Any workout can be low-intensity so long as you slow it down, and rowing is no exception. Coach yourself through some lower-paced intervals to give yourself a full-body workout and get your heart pumping throughout the process. But make sure to actually keep things at a conversational pace, OK?
Photo: Stocky/Felix Hug
Hop in the pool
As far as low-intensity workouts go, swimming is one of the best. There are a number of benefits associated with doing your workout in water, including the diminished impact it has on your joints (when compared to, say, pounding your feet on the pavement). “Most things done in the pool will take tons of pressure off of the joints due to buoyancy,” says Judine Saintgerard, a coach at NYC’s Tone House. She suggests swimming laps or doing an aerobics routine underwater for a solid active recovery workout.
Photo: Getty Images/Caiaimage/Sam Edwards
Do an elliptical program
The elliptical may feel like the most ’90s workout you could possibly choose at the gym (aside from this Cher workout video, maybe), but don’t sleep on it as an effective fitness tool. (Here’s why one W+G editor became a super fan.) Just make sure you keep up a steady pace to get your heart to its 65 percent threshold. And if you want to add elliptical training into some of your other gym days? Take a page out of Jennifer Aniston’s book and get yourself sweating in under 20 minutes.
Jump on the trampoline
Borden suggests “rebounding” as a way to build some low-intensity cardio into your week (actress Busy Phillips is a fan of trampoline workouts, too). Start with small bounces, and be aware that you don’t have to actually leave the mat for a good workout. “Exert just enough force with your legs so that the bungees lift you back up to the point where your feet are still touching the mat, but not pushing it down,” she writes.
Photo: Stocksy/Rob and Julia Campbell
Hit the bike
While an all-out spin class is arguably one of the most intense forms of cardio you can get, spending some time doing your own thing on the bike is a great way to get in some easy movement. Plus, it’s one of the few workouts that allows you to multi-task, so if you’re short on time you’ll be able to kill to birds with one stone and get some work or reading done while spinning out your legs.
Photo: Getty Images/Blend Images/Michael DeYoung
Take a hike
Kick your walking workout up a notch by taking it outside—and uphill. In the warmer months, hiking is a great way to get in a workout that barely feels like you’re working out. Added bonus: Trekking up a mountain is a sneaky way to build muscles in your booty.
I am aware that my worth is more than the number of likes and comments I get on an Instagram photo. But…there is something addictive about “growing your following,” a phrase I both can and cannot believe I just used seriously. I’m not under any illusions that I’m going to be an influencer (a word that practically begs for a capital “I”), but as a writer, it helps my career to be active on social media. That’s how I found myself shelling out $100 for presets—pre-made filters—from one of my favorite Instagrammers. (Well, that and the wine I drank before making said purchase.) I have no eye for editing photos (again, writer), but slightly adjusting a preset is something I am capable of. I don’t regret my purchase at all. However, that’s not always the case when buying the presets, workshops, and courses that influencers offer.
Caroline Calloway, an Instagram influencer with over 830,000 followers, made headlines this week when she cancelled her multi-city creativity workshop tour amidst criticism that she didn’t deliver what was promised (namely, homemade salads, flower crowns, and handwritten notes, along with Calloway’s time and valuable insights). She issued an apology, and offered refunds…and then a day later, said the tour was back on. Calloway requested that people return their refunds, with a link to her Paypal. Last month, influencer Aggie Lal came under similar fire when people who enrolled in her $500 12-week master class on how to—wait for it—grow your Instagram following said that the course didn’t provide the advertised value and had uncomfortable similarities to a multi-level marketing scheme. It felt like a scam.
Whether these influencers are indeed “scammers,” as writer Kayleigh Donaldson dubbed Calloway in the thread that catapulted the brouhaha into the public consciousness, or just people who got in over their heads is a topic the internet has been wildly debating the past few days. But regardless of their intentions, many fans felt like they had been duped. One person who attended Calloway’s workshop in New York did a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) about the experience. She said she wouldn’t pay that much for the event again. Another person, who bought a ticket to the Chicago event, said, “I’m disappointed at how [Calloway’s] handling this. Even if she cancels dates/changes things/makes mistakes, she should own them and deal with them professionally.”
“Does it seem fake? Does it make you feel shitty? Does the person you’re following make you feel like they are great but they don’t make you feel good about yourself?” —Kait Hurley
If 2018 taught us anything, it’s the importance of being wary about spending your money because of Instagram. (The infamous influencer-fueled Fyre Festival disaster from spring of 2017 isn’t fading from memory anytime soon—dueling documentaries on the subject were just released by Netflix and Hulu.)
It’s not uncommon to see both macro and micro influencers offering workshops, courses, and presets for their fans to buy. Kait Hurley, who we named as one to watch in our Next Gen of Wellness series, is one such influencer. She created a program called Move + Meditate, which fuses workouts with meditation. “When I hear about this kind of thing, I just think about how, as consumers of content, we need to be very critical,” Hurley says. “I love Instagram because it has allowed me to build the kind of community I want to be a part of. I’ve met Instagram friends who have become real life friends. But this place is a highlight reel. It’s highly curated and contrived.” She says we need to be aware of who we are following and how they make us feel. (It’s something author, expressive coach, and licensed social worker Minaa B. touched on in one of our Well+Good TALKS.)
“Pay attention to the energy that comes through their work,” Hurley says. “Does it seem fake? Does it make you feel shitty? Does the person you’re following make you feel like they are great but they don’t make you feel good about yourself? Ask yourself questions and take time to really listen to your own answers.” Basically, go all Marie Kondo on your Instagram feed.
Beyond curating a feed that only sparks true joy, Hurley outlines some other ways to safeguard your wallet if you’re considering purchasing from an influencer. Look for reviews and posts from other people about the program. For instance, you can look on Hurley’s story highlights titled “Community” and see posts from followers who have tried her program, along with different events that she has hosted. This all gives you a sense of what you’re spending your money on. Be wary of anyone who hasn’t booked event spaces before selling tickets to IRL workshops. And be sure to check out the refund policy before you buy—both Calloway and Lal said they would provide refunds that the sales platforms they were using did not, in fact allow.
But the bottom line? Trust your gut. “Keep your distance from those who behave as if they’re exceptional or untouchable,” Hurley says. Those kinds of privileged people certainly won’t have your best interests at heart, no matter how much they claim to love you.