On “owing” folks an explanation.

Wednesday morning, I taught my normal cycling class, and because my office is right upstairs from where I teach, I made my way up to the the wellness floor eventually.  I sent emails, sipped water (second job these days), meandered in and out of talking to the trainers, all while I waited for my 10 am meeting to start.

A gentleman who I’ve known from my time at Whole Foods and just from around town, who’s always been a little more familiar to me than I would like, point-blank asked me…

“Do you have something to tell me?”

Mentally, I thought, “are you my probation officer,” but I kind of blankly stared at him until he continued.

“I didn’t know if you were pregnant or if you had stopped working out.”

What. The. Fuck.

Similarly, two nights later, I was actually running on a machine, and a really sweet woman pointed at my belly, and asked “what’s that?”

Now, I don’t fault anyone who wants to tell the world exactly what’s going on with them, and when.  If you want to tell folks you’re pregnant the second it happens, if you want to point out that you’ve gained a little weight and you’re feeling weird about it, or if you want to share that you’ve lost, that’s cool.

But along those same lines, should you want to tell some folks, and not others (like strangers whose name you’re not sure of), that’s okay too.  You’re allowed.  It’s your info to share with whomever you see fit.

Because you don’t owe them any sort of explanation about your body.  They’re not your doctor.  Your best friend.  Or someone with a vested interest in your health.  Or your probation officer, as I thought when Mr. Too-Familiar commented.

I think what we all can learn about this is to pay better attention to the comments we make about other peoples’ bodies.  Surely, it’s one thing if you are any of the aforementioned parties with a vested interest in a person’s well-being.  But it’s certainly another if you’re “just curious,” and fishing for your own curiosity.

As a person in wellness, I’m sensitive to this on both sides.  People I interact with on a daily basis lose weight.  They gain it.  I’ve worked with folks who’ve had bariatic surgery.  Folks who’ve transformed their bodies through running.  And folks for whom the struggle to reconcile their relationship with food has been a challenge, and who’ve fallen off the wagon and gain tremendous amounts of weight.

In either case, we as not entitled to this information simply because we’re curious, and the best way to approach this is, if you would like to ask, ask if the person would mind, with the full knowledge that they may not, or that they may not want to talk about it.

Anyways, Happy Friday – here’s hoping that nobody points at your belly, and asks, “what’s that!”

Athletes foot. ON MY HANDS.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve talked about gross things that can befall you when you go to the gym.  Mainly because that stuff doesn’t faze me as much as it should, and because I want to encourage you guys to work out, not scare you off.

With working out, you are, for the most part doing something awesome for yourself.  But the nature of doing things that involve sweat and being in close quarters with someone else means that sometimes, really gross things happen to you.  You catch a cold, pinkeye, you rub the skin out from under your bra, you start to be able to smell yourself when you wait just a smidge too long after your workout to take a shower…you get it. [Side note: every. single. one. of the above. has happened to me.]

So, a few weeks ago, my palms began to itch.  First off, in Haiti, that’s a good thing.  It means you’re coming into money, which I’m totally fine with.  And one time, my palms starting itching really badly before I got a new job, so I knew something good was going to happen.

Then I figured it was just my acne medication.  After years of battling with problem skin, I’m still using Proactiv even though I’m no longer 16 and it’s sort of expensive.

After a few days of the itchy palms, I looked down, and saw this.

Athlete's Foot.jpg

It appeared that my skin was peeling.  And it got much worse than this.  Like way worse. I backed off, tried to apply the Proactiv with my fingertips, and even tried to crowdsource the info.  Which is disgusting and TMI, but I couldn’t get an appointment with Ginger, my dermatologist forEVER.

It wasn’t until one of the trainers wandered into my office a few mornings ago that it started to click. She pointed out that it seemed to stem from an area around my wrists, which meant that it might be related to something I’d touched with both hands.

Something I’d touched with both hands….what do I touch with both hands? A SPIN BIKE FOR MY WEDNESDAY MORNING CLASSES?!

I’d picked up a fungus from a spin bike.

After I figured that out, it was pretty much an easy fix – I bought a few tubes of lotramin and some spa gloves and it was cleared up within a week. But talk about gross/embarrassing?

What the heck gym? I thought we were cool! And then you betray me?

So in addition to strep-pinkeye-chafing-bacne…you can count Athlete’s Foot not on your feet as one of the perks of your gym membership.

I really don’t want to hear about what you’ve picked up from the gym if I’m being completely honest.  Instead, please share with me what you ate for breakfast this morning!

I think I “ate” a smoothie made with old frozen berries, Trop 50, some Whole Foods protein powder, and a handful of spinach!

Miss Manners

I wore full makeup to work the other day.

And most of you that know me know that I’m a very strictly BB cream and mascara type of girl. And that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with cosmetics – I absolutely love them, however, in my job, it really doesn’t make a ton of sense to do much more than the BB and the mascara.

I spend the daytime part of my job in business casual as much as I can, and then the other part of my job, especially when I’m running or teaching classes, is spent sweating up a storm, and if you’ve ever seen someone in full makeup after a good sweat session, it looks silly.

[Disclaimer: if you feel more comfortable wearing makeup while you work out, that is completely up to you, and I totally get it. Judgement-free zone.]

So all of that to say is that I rock a pretty natural look during the day. But last week, after a night of interrupted sleep thanks to the cats, I decided that not only would I go a little more heavy-handed with the tinted BB cream, but that I would even go for my liquid eyeliner, just to wake those eyes up a little bit.


As I walked through the doors at work, someone remarked with utter shock and amazement, “Cheri’s wearing makeup!!” loudly enough for everyone on the floor to hear. She accompanied this with her mouth hanging wide open. I was really embarrassed. I get it, maybe I looked a little different. But is it absolutely necessary to point out that I look scary without makeup (evidently) and that I put in a little extra effort that day?

Two things I think Miss Manners wants me to tell you if you’ve ever been guilty of making a statement like that one…

  • Don’t comment on when you feel someone looks “tired”.  They might be tired.  They might look like shit.  But they certainly aren’t being told anything they don’t know, and are most likely hoping that no one notices how rough they’re looking/feeling.
  • There is a way to compliment someone if they put on some extra makeup and stuff.  You look really nice!  Period!  End of story!  Reminding someone that they usually come to work looking like Shrek, but today, things are different, which is a pleasant change for you, is not helpful. It’s actually rude.

So – just curious. How much, or how little makeup do you usually wear?

New Year’s Resolutioners

I have a big, big problem with us fitness people, and it centers around the talk regarding New Year’s Resolutioners, or, the reason the gym is packed with folks essentially swinging from the chandeliers in the months of January-March.  Which, I guess, for folks really dedicated to the gym, can seem sort of annoying, but this type of talk is extremely problematic for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, I used to be a little bit heavier than I was now, and I never worked out.  At some point during undergrad and into my first year of grad school, my metabolism could no longer efficiently handle the crap I was shoveling into my system, and I gained somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds.  When I finally lost it and started feeling comfortable in the gym, I was one of those new people.  Sure, my active-lifestyle awakening didn’t quite occur at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, however, had folks been rude and unwelcoming, perhaps I would not be sitting in my job where I am now.

So as you’re mumbling and grumbling about how “annoying” resolutioners are, and how you won’t worry because “they’ll be gone in two weeks anyway,” remember a few things.

  1. You didn’t pop out of the womb nailing squats on the squat rack.  At some point, you were the new kid too, and just because you fancy yourself a pro now doesn’t mean you can side-eye the new guy or gal.  Of course, if someone is breaking gym etiquette or seems completely clueless, feel free to politely inform him or her of their party foul, but play nice.
  2. They’ll [resolutioners] keep you on your toes!  So all the cardio machines are used up.  Maybe today is the day you try a new class or go for a run outside?  Who knows?  The fact that your favorite elliptical in front of your favorite tv is in use isn’t the end of the world.
  3. What about your goals?  What if someone grumbled to you that they thought your 2015 planner was stupid and that you’ll ditch the thing by March anyway, so not to bother.  That would be rude, right?  Especially given that you take that resolution very seriously.
  4. And finally, you should be encouraging of anyone who is making steps and changes to create a healthier lifestyle.  Mentioning that they’ll be gone in a few weeks anyway is negative, and not encouraging for folks just checking things out, and hoping to learn to love working out.

Don’t be a hater…


And I say this every year, but here’s to 2015 being the year that everyone nails their goal and sticks it out at the gym!  We’re looking forward to having you!

I think I’m done being mad at Lululemon now.

I walked into Lululemon yesterday for the first time since this gem, in which the CEO and co-founder of Lululemon, a high-end specialty retail store that caters to mainly young women, yogis and runners, implied that ::ahem:: some women’s bodies were not made for his yoga pants.  Read:  the founder just called us too fat to wear his pants.

I mean, I don’t pay nearly $100 for your pants for you to insult me and call me fat.  Plus I get all my running and yoga apparel for the most part from Fleet Feet, so it wasn’t a huge deal to quit paying Lululemon visits.

But yesterday, I decided I was over being mad at Lulu, especially since they put the gag on the co-founder, and now, former CEO, and stopped in to see what was going on.  I made a few observations, that I adored!  For one, the girls who work there are adorable, which I forgot.  I don’t ever remember being that cute when I was working retail, so color me jealous!


These sweatpants which felt like heaven.  

And I decided I need a gym bag.  I real one.  I’m tired of shoving my planner next to sweaty tights and sweaty pairs of underwear – it’s time (now that I’ve been working out consistently for like 4 years), that I graduate to a real gym bag with real pockets for the dirty clothes and pockets for my phone and for my sneaks and stuff.

So the iPhone went into selfie mode, and I took a selfie with my two favorite by the most glorious full-length mirror the store had to offer.

gym bag

So the real question here is is…

Are you still mad at Lululemon?  Why or why not?

Which gym bag do I get out of the two pictured above?

The final leg of my journey – Atlanta!

After my big day at Epcot, the sister and I headed back to the abode, and finished off the night with a viewing of the Rock Horror Picture Show, which I haven’t seen in years, and yet I could sing almost every number.

RockyThis movie was way before it’s time, and I’m not sure why my parents ever allowed us to watch this, but I’m sure glad they did.

So the next day, I headed to the airport to go to Atlanta to visit a friend for her housewarming.  Number 1, I flew on something called Silver Airways, which I’d never heard of.  Number 2, the plane looked like a toy.  I’m not kidding.  After waiting forever in security, and sprinting, once again to my gate (thank you Lord for running), I was directed out directly onto the tarmac, where I was met with this.



I boarded the flight and felt comfortable that, should my life end, that I’d lived a full and good life.

Finally, I made it to Atlanta, and in search of a gym because it was wayyyyy too cold for my Raynaud’s behind to be running out, I found a Fitness 19.

The best part of being at a gym where no one will recognize you is that  you can kind of do what you want.  I ran.  I lifted.  Hard.  I did a few hip-opening stretches.  And I got hit on by a guy who’d skipped one too many leg days.  Yikes.  But I left feeling like the soreness would be delicious (anyone else like being sore?), and had a blast for the rest of my time in Atlanta.

Today, I’m thankful to be home, and ready to start a fresh new week.  What are you looking forward to this week? 

I’m looking forward to looking at a few houses in Raleigh with hopes of moving on soon from apartment living.  Here’s hoping!


Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette

I was at the gym yesterday when I saw the nastiest thing. A little nugget get up off of the rowing machine who walked away without wiping his sweaty butt stain off of the seat. That used to not bother me, until I contracted the wart from HELL on my hand. This wart was professionally blowtorched off my hand once. I’ve treated it twice with those over-the-counter freezy things. And now, I’ve been sleeping with apple cider vinegar soaked cotton balls taped to my hands in hopes that it will kill this thing once and for all. Moral of the story? CLEAN YOUR NASTY SWEAT MACHINES AFTER YOU USE THEM AT THE GYM! Okay?!

Job Search.

Running came to me at a really….tumultuous time in my life.

I graduated from NC State University in 2011 with my Masters.  I was a Social Worker!  Werk, right?  Wrong, kinda.

I spent the next like, year, searching high and low for a job that would apply, even vaguely, to what I’d spent years studying.  And thus, began the infamous job search, and by default, how I became a marathoner.  Running kept me from tearing all my hair out, one loc by one, each time I went through the following process, one that would take you from hopeful -> despondent in a matter of weeks.

The black hole.

I started, like any job-searching dumbass, by applying for jobs using those online forms.  Then I’d get really, really, really upset when I never heard anything for like 100 years from whatever agency it was.  It completely escapes me why any agency/company would utilize these forms when it’s pretty clear to me that a million people apply using these things, and not a single one of them gets a call back.  The key, I found, was filling into the form, exactly what the form wanted to hear.

The courtship. 

Once I started figuring out the system, there was these incredible awkward experience called “the phone interview” that would befall me.  Here’s how it would go down.  You schedule a time with an interviewer, usually over email, to do the interview.  Say it’s like at 8:30 am.  You’ll do what you’re supposed to, find a nice, quiet place, and sit with your phone, waiting on this call.  Usually the interviewer won’t bother to call until 8:36.  This means that you will have been staring at your phone, on high-alert, for 6 minutes.  The phone rings.  And your heart jumps out of your chest.  Usually, at this point, you’re all, how the eff am I going to answer this, and sound professional?  I know!  I’ll use my racially ambiguous voice for this one!

“This is Cheri!”

So I’d chirp through the entire phone interview.  I’d usually fly through this part.


The in-person.

After I’d nail the phone interview, it was time for the in-person interview.  Stress city.  This was the tricky part.  What do I wear.  Ugh, is my natural hair a little too “ethnic” for the position?  Too late, it’s nearly 10 years in the making.   What if I don’t look like what my voice sounds like? Have I done enough research on the company?  What might they ask?  What do I say when they ask if I have any questions.

The Break-Up

This, by far, was one of the most emotionally damaging parts of the entire search process.  You’d do the interview.  And you never really know how you did.  There’s the wait.  And then you sense that you’re about to be broken up with. There’s the email break up, days after you’ve sent your stupid thank-you note.  And the email reads like this.


I wanted to let you know how AWESOME I think you are.  You’ve been such an asset to this company in the capacity that you work in, and you’re SO good at what you do, we want to KEEP YOU THERE!  That’s right, we went with this other guy for the position that you interviewed 3 times for! (Sorry about the humiliation!)

I know it seemed like the interview went really well, and we even showed you where your future office was going to be to tease you, but we really really, really wanted to fool with your emotions, that way, when you open this email, you’re absolutely sure to burst into tears.  Hope to embarrassingly see you around the office!


Oh. Gonna drink anything that’s a liquid now.

This happened to me really too many times for me to recount, and in the most painful, and humiliating off ways.  I’m not lying, once I was interviewed like three times for a position, and I didn’t get it.  Once, in a lunch interview, one of the guys interviewing me asked me how I do my hair when I run.  I believe he was just intrigued by my locs.  I didn’t get that job, and I found that out when I called the woman in the interview back after she’d left me a chirpy sounding email.  I was pumped! She’d called, all happy, to let me know that they’d given the job to some guy, who ended up resigning a few months later.

The Resolution

All of this was eased by a few things.  I never really accepted the situation, and it would be a lie to claim I had.  That might have made things a little easier, but my parents are successful, my friends are successful, and I compared myself to that.  Plus I have student loans to pay off.  But what did make it a little easier was Fleet Feet, running and generally working off the jobless anxiety, and eventually finding a job in my field.

I’ll leave you with the one and only Job Search Tip that you’ll need.

You guys know all the tips.  Your resume is top-notch, you have degrees, and you’re qualified,  In the time when you’re unemployed or underemployed, be good to yourself.  Work out.  You’ve got more time than most working people, so take advantage of it.  Go the the gym.   Do some yoga.  It’ll render you a little more ready to take on your situation, plus, you’ll have a 6-pack and look like a friggin supermodel when you actually do get an interview.  It’s tempting to sit around and gain 1000 lbs while going through this, but don’t let this process win.  And when you do experience rejection, and you will, chalk it up to another frustrating experience.  You know there are better things out there for you. 

I teach Zumba on the side – Blind Item.

And truth be told, had I never started teaching Zumba, I’d certainly not be as sexy as I am today.

Okay, I kid, I kid, but Zumba, coupled with my stint at a teacher at a weight-loss camp super ignited my passion for fitness.  And I’ve been teaching since then (by then, I mean, like early 2010).

So anyhoo, I teach at this place.  And I don’t want to say the name of the place, because I’d like to remain gainfully employed.  And the place is beautiful.  Beautifully maintained facilities, great staff, and generally, a wonderful place to work.

Recently, at this place, I’ve run into some trouble, screwed the pooch, if you will.

I think I’ve been labeled as the gym’s troublemaker, because recently, every single time I teach, I get a filthy look from the attendants, and usually, once a class, one of them storms into the room, wildly making the “TURN IT DOWN” motion with his fingers.  It’s gotten to the point that usually, I’ll spy one of them coming, my heart rate will increase, I will dissolve into a nervous giggle (in front of the class,) until I’m told to turn it down.

I’m a Pavlovian Experiment, now every time I see the attendants in their uniforms, I begin to giggle, and I’ve started playing this game called “How Long Til I Get Yelled At Today?”

I’m a rebel y’all.  This fitness game is so real.