Archive for February 2009

Resistance, ur doing it… already

Scenario I’ve seen before many times. Woman goes to the student gym. She brings a couple of bags with her, containing items such as: gym kit, heavy textbooks, maybe a laptop, stationary, purse, ipod, phone, bag of make up, toiletries, towel et al. This bag could potentially weigh 10+kgs. She goes into the gym, does her routine on the cardio equiptment (as that’s the only way to lose weight – looking good is the only motivation) and then she goes onto her ‘toning’ exercises. She goes and picks up a pair of 1kg dumbbells, and starts doing tricep kickbacks and bicep curls.

After finishing up with her 1kg exercises, she goes back to the changing room, gets ready and hauls her 10+kg bag over her shoulder.

One thing that interests me is that there seems to be very little connection with resistance training and the functional training that many women do on a day to day basis without even realising. A relative of mine has beautifully defined arms, evolved after years of chasing around and picking up active toddlers and children. Despite this, after hearing about the lifting that I do, she warned me against getting, ‘too bulky’ from lifting heavy weights. There seems to be a stop-gap between a bridge that needs a bit of a fix. Maybe that could be one of the answers to get more people, especially women, engaged in the benefits of doing some weight training, regardless of the form that weight comes in.

Or it could be a disaster, and the poor unassuming toddler gets put on a restrictive diet and taken for baby liposuction, in the wake of being the biggest threat behind bulking up.

Recommended reading: Gubernatrix: The Toning Problem

Stumptuous: Things you should not lift


Add comment February 25, 2009

Twisted gym pleasures

The feeling that you’re about to throw up.

The last time I vomited happened in the spring of 1991 (it was that memorable and traumatic) and ever since then I have a huge fear about seeing the contents of digestion in my lap. Bulgarian split squats in a superset with push ups left me with feeling that it was going to happen. The feeling disappeared as soon as I started stretching and I felt wonderful.

Producing more sweat than anyone else in the room

Rahh! Forget glowing, worship the perspiration, kiss my biceps, I am He-Man, see the sweat drip down my forehead! The guys looked on in admiration (NB: this may not have happened) and two yoga girls looked down their noses at me (NB: this definitely happened 😦  )

The inability to walk down steps due to leg shakiness

Nuff said.

Add comment February 24, 2009

Don’t tread on me

I’m quite self-conscious concerning personal space at the gym. This is because travelling on the Tube fills my quota of getting pressed up against a variety of odours and also because it’s not exactly safe to be arse-touching someone in the middle of their squat. In the free-weights area, you normally have to weave your way around or wait while someone is doing their thing, but it’s only for a few seconds and not a big deal.

On Friday I was just about to start doing some dumbbell chest presses, when a guy came along and almost knocked a dumbbell out of my hand with his arse. In a gym, I’d expect most mortals with a sense of gym etiquette would be, “I’m really sorry, didn’t see you/I tripped/I thought I saw a ghost,” because had that dumbbell landed anywhere on my face, I would have let rip once I had recovered from the rhinoplasty.

Instead, he just went about his business with his buddy and they did dumbbell flies only throughout their entire workout, grunting in a manner I’ve seen in various flavours on the labour ward. I couldn’t be bothered to say anything, I figured this is the type of guy who won’t eat fruit because, “OMFG, sugar!” But will happily chow down a tub of Superdoopermaxigainermuscle powder with added dextrose. Fairly certain it wouldn’t have happened if I looked like Oscar De La Hoya.

In the same session, I encountered a PT who was training two guys who were new to the gym. I asked how long they were going to be with the stepper: to my delight, unlike some patrons he didn’t snap/scoff/roll eyes and he told one of the guys with him to take the equipment over to me. The latter was a bit excessive, but I was touched all the same.

I’ve told B that once we have our own house complete with garage, that shall be our home gym. The answer is always,  “But where will the car live?”

The car can graduate to the garage once I can lift it.


I still have a horrendous case of the DOMS from Friday’s session, and it shocked me when I thought about how much strength I had lost. Some friends of mine run a company which offers pole dancing classes, I’m tempted to try something out a little different, and I think pulling yourself upside down and hanging there using your thighs is a neat little party trick.

1 comment February 22, 2009


Monday sexual health seminars have been interesting to say the least, but not really enjoyable on my part:

Another medic [in the context of finding out if patients are having sex in parts of the world where HIV is highly prevalent]: “So are we meant to ask if couples go on Safari and swing with the African tour guides? Har har!” God, you’re so funny and profoundly insightful, let me go and rip my sides off, they’re splitting already.

Towards the end of the session, the tutors had a list of ‘alternative lifestyles’ listed up on the board as an example of how we as doctors should be aware of and non-judgemental about. I was surprised to see Polygamy on the list, which the registrar addressed: “And some people choose to have more than one relationship, sexual or otherwise at a time.” I wanted to ask whether they meant polyamory rather than polygamy, as the latter is more familiar and controversial among people and tends to be associated with marriage than relationships as a whole.

Instead, I kept schtum. Mainly apathy and tiredness. And partly because I don’t want certain assumptions made about me by the likes of Safari Boy. Then again it might make classes more interesting if he did.

2 comments February 19, 2009

C U Next… Wednesday?

Before I started Obs & Gynae I was expecting to be thrown out of the consultation room a lot, or be told in the labour ward that the patient doesn’t want any students. Luckily this didn’t happen and the vast majority of women I saw were happy to have a student present. Come sprog time, I’d definitely consider having a student midwife or doctor present; I’m the type of person that does better with continuity (and lots of attention), and in the last delivery I followed, I was there from the beginning to the end: in that time, there were four midwives handing over.

It was also nice to feel useful for once (Protestant ethic, much?) whether it was helping out the anaesthetist (who very kindly did some one-on-one teaching with me), fetching towels, changing linen, doing basic observations, fanning down the mother (and father) during transition, dressing the baby, getting it latched on and making cups of tea. Some of my collegues were really offended by stuff like this – they wanted to see the labour and deliveries and how dare anyone ask a medical student to make a cup of tea – which I guess is fair enough if this isn’t the speciality you want, and you just want to get to grips with the basics. I like to feel useful, simple. My grandmother constantly told me as a child in Italian, “Do your schoolwork, do your homework, then come and help with the housework.” Maybe it’s less of the Protestant ethic and more of the Italian Catholic grandma factor.

Anyway, the reason I really wanted to post was that seeing a lot of women in that context made me realise that it was about time I stop using every excuse in the book in terms of keeping everything tidy in the vicinity. Before I met B, I used to live about 7 minutes away from Selfridges, and behind the store was a rather awesome beauty salon which did really good waxing. I’d see Otylia, a Polish lady in her 50s who could get me done in about 10 minutes while discussing matters concerning her boyfriend. After meeting B and moving to Sarf London rather quickly, out of sight and out of mind, I forgot about it. It came to August and I decided to venture into Clapham to find somewhere cheaper for the Hollywood treatment.

I found a salon and waited in the rather odd paper pants they had given me. To my naive horror, I then realised that the wax was going to be done with strips and not the hot wax I had been used to. Needless to say that pain was excruciating and the hair wasn’t coming away well enough, cue more wax and more stripping. The woman who was waxing me told me halfway through that she was very inexperienced with Brazilian waxing and that they offered the waxes as they knew they were very popular among women. Probably not the kind of thing you should tell a client. The wax itself took about 40 minutes, half of the hair was still there (putting my narcissistic hat on, after waxing I would always touch myself more, not even for masturbation, it just felt ever so nice.) by which time I resolved not to look at the damage for at least a fortnight. Suffice to say, it was enough to put me off having it done for a good [whisper] 2 years [/whisper]

Recently, I decided to have a little image makeover, starting with my cunt (not the kind of feature you’d see on Phil and Fern). A very lucky find bought me to Holborn where a very cheerful Essex girl defuzzed me in 10 minutes with minimal fuss and pain. I spent the rest of the evening at home with my hands down my pants. In addition to this,  I have been thinking about getting a vertical hood piercing, although I’m still umming and ahhing over it. It’s an area I consider to be pretty and pink – do I want a piece of metal going through there?


After a very painful recovery from last week’s gym session, I had mustered up the courage to go back to start with Turbulence Training for abs. Cept I had forgotten that my gym was closed this week to install new cardio equipment. Which is fair I guess, they had put in new weight equipment last year. Somehow I can’t see kettlebells on the agenda anytime soon. Think I may as well bite the bullet at and get some of my own.


Baking my own bread is proving dangerous. I’m making a wholemeal loaf later on, and made a lovely onion and pancetta focaccia on Tuesday. It had disappeared by Wednesday, and I can’t blame B or the flatmate for that.

Add comment February 19, 2009


Today I accepted a sweet from a stranger. I figured it would be ok since I’m in my mid-twenties and he said it would stop my cough (it didn’t) but it was a nice gesture.

I feel like I’m continually drawing the short straw where my medical school is concerned. They sending me to the same DGH for paediatrics despite telling us they try to send us to as many places as possible (the hospital no one wants to be at) and today after ringing the family planning clinic where I was due to have my placement in an hour, I was informed that they had been closed for the last month. It’s no biggie in the grand scheme of things, but I had also been in the library earlier today where the first years seem to have absolutely no sense of what it means to be in a library.

I snapped (internally) and walked out. A friend of mine had recommended another library just around the corner and it was like I had entered into something beautiful. Leather chairs, fresh water available, free wifi and being surrounded by an enormous collection of books, all carefully looked after on towering bookshelves. And no pre-clinical medics! The prospect of revision doesn’t seem too taxing now. Although it leaves me with the small dilemma of whether I should tell my friends about it, right now it feels like my naughty little secret.

Add comment February 10, 2009

Gynaecology, at your cervix

Up until the shoulder dystocia on Friday morning, I was feeling relatively chilled about the process of childbirth; now I’m shit scared again. I guess that can only be a good thing for now and buys me a couple more years before I decide to procreate. One thing I won’t be doing is making a birth plan as they seem utterly pointless. I don’t drink the natural birth kool-aid so it’s not like I really need to have a 50 point check-list of all the things I’m going to refuse anyway. That’s not to say people shouldn’t write them, I think they can be very useful tools in terms of getting a brief idea of a patient’s expectations.


What possessed me to make biscuits now, I don’t know. There’s some icing to do. And Riesling to drink.


Gym, Monday. Bout time too.

Add comment February 7, 2009


I haven’t slept since Wednesday night and I’m kinda enjoying the buzz that’s coming with it. Although the feeling I’m getting could have been due to being utterly floored by witnessing a shoulder dystocia during one of the births I saw in the early hours this morning. The registrar looked so cool and composed, even with the sound of, “Doctor, it has been 2 minutes now.” I on the other hand, felt like a complete tool, the midwives were talking to me but they could have been speaking the language of planet Zog, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Despite the shock of that, mother & baby (and father) were ok. I think I needed a stiff drink.


Blood oranges are in season again, yay! Flatmate has recommended a blood orange jelly with orange pieces and a dollop of lemon curd on top.

Add comment February 6, 2009

Choose your weapon wisely

A few months ago I decided to stop referring to myself as a feminist. I got the same relief when I stopped convincing myself that I believe in God, and for now I’m happy bouncing along with it. Slightly related, I am currently reading one of the worst critiques of BDSM I’ve ever seen. I’ll probably write more in detail at a later date as I’m having difficulty articulating how far off the mark it is – think 4 year old precious ballerina insisting that their opinion is fact and if you don’t agree they’re going to stamp their foot and sqweeem. Not going to link to it but will be happy to let you know where to find it via email.

Speaking of which, I’m starting to think about exploring some dominant ideas I’ve had floating in my mind. I must admit, I used to be very naive about the whole thing, and I remember going to a fetish club night, wearing a rubber dress, with my hair scraped back feeling very… foolish. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little rubber dress, but I guess I had fallen into someone else’s idea of what a woman with dominant inclinations is supposed to be, and not my own. I saw The Reader the other day so this has some influence (and don’t read on if you don’t want any parts ruined for you) but the idea of wrapping a towel around an individual, lovingly patting the nape of their neck dry, standing there naked while they’re unaware that you are, sounds… shit hot to me. I guess you have to see it in the context of the film. (Just as well I didn’t link to that site, one look at this and I’d be dubbed a paedo-Nazi-pervert).

 Then again, I’m still playing with the idea of lying down on our glass coffee table, in a room full of friends, wearing this and holding a sign that says, “Use me.”


Only 3 more days at the DGH, hurrah! I miss my little place and the people in it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope come the final year.

1 comment February 3, 2009

White powder found in London

Just when I was hoping for a nice and quiet week, a shitload of snow gets dumped in London and across the country. B and I thought it would be a good idea to try snowboarding in the carpark. The slope wasn’t steep enough but it was fun enough trying.

Thought it would be a good idea to make a soup with the cavolo nero I picked up in the market. Must admit I’m a bit skeptical about cabbage based soups; they conjure up images of faddy diets and bad gas. I’ve seen several recipes but I think I’m going to stick with this one from Veg Box Recipes as I have some butter beans bouncing around in the cupboard and I can’t really be bothered going out on the high street looking for pancetta.

Add comment February 2, 2009

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