Friday Randomness – Dec. 16

This is some sad news: New Balance, the only major shoemaker that keeps at least some of its production within the U.S., is struggling to maintain that distinction. I recently did a ton of poking around to see what I could learn about the conditions in which running shoes were found (verdict: I couldn’t find much) and the only solid thing I learned was that New Balance manufactures 25 percent of its shoes in the U.S.  It’s sad to see that could be going away soon.

The issues surrounding globalization and apparel are pretty well known, but did you know there are issues around honey as well?  U.S. honey producers are now collaborating to audit the source of honey through a program called True Source.

The first thought I had after looking through this slideshow of the 20 most overrated supplements was that I had no idea there were that many supplements on the market.   Truthfully, I’ve never been one for supplements.  Protein shakes, okay.  Energy gels, fine.  I can even do additives  But all of these pills that cost a small fortune and promise greater muscle growth or weight loss?  It seems not that far removed from snake oil.  I don’t know.  Someone wanna help me out with this?  Am I completely misguided?

Just in case you needed yet another reminder that the fashion industry in sore need of some soul-searching, H&M has decided that, hey, who needs models when you’ve got computers?

Charlotte Andersen compiled this year-end list of the top 10 fitness and weight loss trends of 2011 for Shape, which includes the Paleo Diet and CrossFit.  Sadly, it also includes cleanse diets which, just….no.  Say no to cleanse diets!  That’s what you’ve got kidneys and a liver for!

Fortunately, this list of 20 fitness myths at LiveStrong takes aim at cleanse diets, as well as my least-favorite myth: the three-pound weight limit for women.  I like fitness expert Ashley Borden’s no-nonsense approach to fitness.  Honestly, it’s not as complicated as many people would like you to believe (and anyone who insists otherwise is trying to sell you something).

Massive girl crush object Hope Solo said she thinks the reason she lost on “Dancing with the Stars” is because she has “too much muscle” and is “too intense” and “wasn’t very dainty.”  UGH.  Fie on you, DWTS judges!  A pox on all your homes!  Hope, love, you’re gorgeous.  Don’t listen to the haters. There are a lot of us out here who would do very bad things to have arms and shoulders like yours.  (P.S. the link contains a lot of language that harshes on fat people.  Be forewarned.)

I totally loved this video by two women’s football players, addressing the sorry-ass phenomenon of lingerie sports.  I particularly liked when they asked why it seems like a woman has to be nearly naked in order to be seen:

The New York Times recently ran an article about the influx of talented youngsters into road racing.  We see this all the time at our local races – kids who are eleven, twelve, thirteen, keeping up with the lead pack.  In fact, just two weeks ago, I finished as second overall woman (yes! seriously!!) at a 5K behind a 13-year-old girl.  I don’t see anything wrong with this, as long as parents keep the kids from overtraining and embracing disordered eating habits.

Dean Spade is pretty much a genius, and this document on the language used to describe purportedly gendered body parts is a good example of why I think this.  You might have noticed that I say things like “people who are pregnant” and that I try to go out of my way to avoid using “women” when I mean “people with vaginas.”  I sometimes slip up – old habits and all that – but I’m working on it.

Tori at Anytime Yoga has an insightful post about the language used to describe core workouts.

I loved this post at Dances with Fat about repairing one’s relationship with exercise.  Ragen shares some very practical ways to develop a healthy relationship with physical activity, should a person choose to do so.  I like that she takes a low-key approach to it, where you don’t have to be a superjock to embrace the benefits and pleasures of physical activity.

Good news, fellow coffee drinkers!  Caffeine may help us perform better at our chosen workouts.  Of course, this is no surprise to anyone who drinks coffee, but it’s good to have the research to back it up anyway.

It looks like Australian tennis legend Margaret Court is vying to be the Phyllis Schafly of tennis.

This is pretty gross: runners at the recent Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Marathon have had about a billion complaints about the way the race was organized and operated, and maybe the worst of all is that many runners broke out with serious GI issues at about mile 10.  Some runners said they were sick for days afterward.  I guess this is a good argument in favor of handheld water bottles, right?

Finally, Creative Loafing ran a lovely dismantling of Men’s Health, which had the temerity to name St. Petersburg the saddest city in the United States.  To which I can only ask the editors of Men’s Health – have you never been to Gary, Indiana?  That is such a sad city I felt like crying the one time I drove past it on the highway.  We are not a sad city.  We are an awesome city.  We have dolphins!  And manatees!  No one can be sad when you have dolphins and manatees.