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Monthly Archives: September 2014

An Appeal for Gym Etiquette

My Fellow Gym-Goer –

As a gym regular – I hit the gym at The12 multiple times per week – I have a few requests. And while I do admit to being mildly OCD, I feel like most people (OCD or not) would agree, these simple considerations would make everyone’s gym experience better.

1. PLEASE CLEAN OFF YOUR EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU ARE DONE SWEATING ON IT – I labeled this number one because it’s the single most important. Please, please, if you drip sweat all over the spin bike or treadmill or mat, wipe it off. Not with your hand. With a towel. At The12, they provide everyone with a towel. Forgetting it at home or in your car is no excuse.

But it is key to remember that the towel is not just for drying yourself off, it’s also for wiping your sweat off the gym equipment. Otherwise, you are leaving it to me to wipe up with my towel. Your sweat on my towel?! Gross.

Plus as a mom, I have enough people (who also do not always smell very good) to clean up after at home. The gym is my time away from that. Please help it stay that way.

2. PLEASE DON’T MOVE MY WEIGHTS – When we are doing a circuit, I choose my weights carefully, use them for the intended exercise, and place them in a particular spot when I’m done (generally with one weight over the other and near my water bottle – like I told you, I’m a little OCD like that). Often times, when I come back to that exercise in the circuit, my weights are gone, nowhere to be found. I don’t mind sharing if I’m not using them, but please, please, put them back where you found them so I don’t waste my exercise time running around looking for the right weights again – which I already had to begin with.

3. PLEASE MOVE THROUGH THE CIRCUIT IN THE RIGHT ORDER – At the beginning of the circuit, the instructor usually tells you where to start and how many people should be at each circuit and each exercise. The reason they do this is so that we don’t get all clogged up in one spot, without enough equipment for everyone. It’s our job as conscientious gym-goers to continue that pattern.

For example, most classes at The12 start with about four stations. Each station then has two to five exercises to run through. If you start on station two, when you are done you move to station three – not to one or four or whichever one sounds good to you at the time. Don’t be that person.

Also, each circuit has two to five exercises within it. If you start your first station on exercise three for example, you go to your next station and start with exercise three. It’s simple. It’s math. And when you are OCD, you get a little mental when it gets out of whack. Plus the bonus is – there is enough equipment for everyone. Yay!

4. PLEASE CHECK YOUR OUTFIT IN THE MIRROR (AND MAYBE BENT OVER) – Hmmm…how do I say this? Um, remember the Lululemon “see through” workout pants controversy from last year. Let’s just say it’s not limited to Lulu. A good solid pair of workout pants and a well-padded bra go a long way toward avoiding gym distractions. This doesn’t really affect me so much, it’s just that I struggle with not putting on my mom-hat, placing my arm around you and gently whispering that I can see through your pants. Now if you don’t mind it, that’s totally fine. It’s up to you. I just worry that you don’t realize it. And I don’t need one more thing to worry about. Believe me.

5. PLEASE CLEAN UP AT THE END – At the end of the class, wipe off your mat, put your weights away (if they could be with the numbers facing up that would be awesome, but I’m not going to get too picky), and generally clean up after yourself. Wash your hands. While you already have a towel in your hand, use it to dry off your hands – save the planet one paper towel at a time. Then, drop your towel in the hamper before you leave. If by mistake, you bring the towel home, wash and return it. I’m sure the folks at the gym will appreciate it. They probably already buy enough new towels every week.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, let me say that these are just small requests, from me to you – fellow gym-goer – with love. If you forget, I’m not going to get all crazy on you. But, if you could find it in your heart to keep these things in mind the next time you hit the gym, I would love and appreciate you and we can hustle on forever and ever.

Hustlers

Thank you! Hugs (but not super sweaty ones).

Come to think of it, let’s just make it a high-five.

xoxo – Allison

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Everything You Need to Know About California’s Plastic Bag Ban

On Friday, August 30, 2014, the California state legislature enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags. If signed into law, the measure would become the first of its kind in America.

OCGreenMama_PlasticBag

A number of cities and counties in California, including Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, have already passed their own ordinances against use of plastic bags by retailers. But at a state-wide level, this ban will be the first in the United States.

The bill, approved by the CA Senate, must still be signed into law by Sept. 30 by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

The measure would ban grocery stores from handing out single-use grocery bags with customers’ purchases, but does allow retailers to charge 10 cents per bag for paper and reusable bags. The bill also includes $2 million in loans to help plastic bag manufacturers shift to the new model.

The ban prohibits the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 1, 2015, and goes into effect for convenience and liquor stores on that date a year later.

Although the ban is still not officially signed into law, the naysayers are already speaking up to offer criticism and complaints. Here are just a few that I’ve heard so far, along with a response to each…

It’s too hard to remember to bring my own bags.

If you are like most Californians, you spend a lot of your time in the car. Just stash your reusable bags in your trunk, so you will always have them with you when you are running errands. After unpacking your groceries at home, simply put the bags back in your car for your next use.

If that’s still not convenient enough for you, stash a couple of Chico Bags in your purse, backpack or bag. Small, reusable bags that shrink into a small pouch, Chico bags take up virtually no room and are always with you when you need them. They wash super easily too. They are literally one of my favorite inventions ever.

But, I still might forget my bags.

You may still purchase either paper or reusable bags for 10 cents each at the time of purchase. You will not be forced to carry all your items in your arms to the car, I promise.

I don’t think I should have to pay 10 cents for something that is now free.

If you think you aren’t already paying for plastic bags right now, think again. More than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California each year, according to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group that supported the bill. This group further estimates that California’s tax payers spend between $37 million to $107 million annually to manage plastic bag litter in our state.

Plastic bags are also an environmental nightmare, littering our roadways, rivers, oceans, mountains, and everything in between.

In California, there is particular concern that the bags, when swept out to sea, harm ocean life. When floating in the ocean, plastic bags look like jelly fish, and end up being consumed by loggerhead sea turtles and other marine life. If not consumed, the bags break down into micro-plastic particles, which are toxic to marine life – and to humans. Those small bits of toxic plastic end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines, where we come into direct contact with the toxins.

Can’t we just recycle the plastic bags?

The reality is, plastic bags are rarely recycled. In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) indicates that in 2012, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at a rate of only about 12 percent. What’s more, the plastic recycling process is very labor and energy intensive – as compared to aluminum, glass and paper. There are also fewer applications for the resulting recycled material.

When plastics are recycled, it’s generally referred to as “downcycling”, which basically means that the incoming bottles, bags, etc. can only be recycled to make a lower-quality form of plastic. Plastic water bottles, for example, cannot be recycled into new plastic bottles. Instead, the resins from plastic bottles are used to make fibers, that can be used in pillows, insulating fill for jackets, etc. Common products that are made from recycled plastics (toys, car parts, plastic lumber, drainage pipes, clothing fibers, and trash receptacles) usually cannot be recycled – making plastics a “dead-end” waste stream.

While recycling plastic is still much better than throwing in the trash, reducing the overall use of plastics is the best possible scenario.

But I use my plastic bags to … (clean up dog messes, line my trash cans, carry home dirty clothes, etc.).

There are still plenty of plastic bags in the world – and most are used only once thrown in the trash. There are produce bags; bread bags; bags your to-go restaurant orders are packaged in; and many, many more.

If you think outside the box a little bit, you will see that you already have enough plastic bags for most purposes. For example, my favorite doggie waste bags are tortilla bags – yes, the bags that your tortillas are packaged in. They are great because they are a perfect size for dog waste cleanup, and have a ziplock-type closing at the top that seals in that unpleasant smell – keeping your outdoor trash can smelling like something other than dog poop when you open the lid.

Finally, whether measured by dollars and cents or in terms of our own health, we are all already paying the price for those free, cheap, ubiquitous plastic bags. It’s time to step up and do the right thing. This new ban may cause you to have to think (for ten seconds when you immediately get out of the car), “Oh wait, let me grab my bags from the trunk”, or pay a few extra cents at checkout, or save a few of the plastic bags that you normally toss to use again.

You have to ask yourself if this small inconvenience (that you will become accustomed to with just a little time) will be worth the long term gains for our environment, our health, and ultimately future generations.

As for me, I vote yes. I hope you will do the same.