Gym blogs, jogging blogs, sport blogs, and the tyranny of Id
Here at EdUncovered HQ, we’ve had cause to read a lot of fitness blogs lately. While my colleague completes his latest madcap mission (28 days of fast food and fitness – u wot m8?), I’ve been left to pick up the pieces.
When your days are filled with contemplating nutrition, exercise and matters of corporeality while sitting in a shiny plastic booth eating shiny plastic food (even, as in my case, by proxy), you may find yourself sliding into a a pit of existential dread. There will come a time when you tilt your head to the sky and know that the sun also rises, and the sun also goes down, and the wind goes to the north and to the south.
The problem, you see, isn’t the superficiality of the modern cult of fitness. It’s not that its adherents, those self-titled gym junkies, are seemingly unable to talk on any topic not related to protein powder, bro science or tits.
Nor is it the hypocrisy of the UK’s status as the fattest country in Europe juxtaposed with its reputation as a land of preening exhibitionist poseurs.
None of these things bother me – I’m ok with self-obsession, self-aggrandisement and mid-sesh selfies. What really offends about most fitness blogs, however – and I mean hurts in a deeply spiritual way, a hurt that touches on some essential element of what it is to be human – is how utterly shit they are.
Boorish or boring in isolation I can manage, but both in conjunction make me cry. Giving a blog to a gymbro is like handing a paintbrush to a chimp; you don’t expect ‘Starry Night’, but you’d prefer that it didn’t use the thing to disinter flakes of dried faeces from its colon while grunting and punching itself in the genitals in a failed attempt to masturbate.
Of course, this isn’t just a fitness blog failing: 99% of all blogs are crap, regardless of subject. But in the case of fitness blogs, the gently caressing waterfall of cloacal output that we’ve come to call ‘the internet’ becomes an inundation.
The cult of fitness is also the cult of the idiot; American Psycho as conceived, written by and starring Zyzz; a chattering parliament of sound and fury and ‘best butts of Instagram’. It’s achingly, heartbreakingly discouraging. It’s an indictment on the species.
Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
That said, there are the occasional gems in the septic tank that brighten my day. Moments of levity that prevent me from falling to my knees, bashing my face on the ground until my glasses shatter and using the sharp edges to scrape my veins open in despair, all while awaiting the 7:48 to George Street.
I call them ‘twinklers’ after the way they sparkle so appealingly in the cess. Below you’ll find ten of the best fitness blogs in or about Edinburgh: a mixture of routines, no-nonsense tools and advice, personal quests and challenges, humour and news. The one thing they all have in common? Decent writing and a marked absence of wankers.
Robbie’s a climber and “performance coach”, which is all fine and dandy – he does actually have some useful content on his site about climbing technique and mentality, but that’s not what we’re here for.
The main drawcard of the blog is the route reviews, climb reports and fucking spectacular travel photography. This guy gets around to some of the most beautiful bits of rock on the planet, scales them in style and shoots them just as well.
As an Australian who climbs, I’m particularly jealous of this incredible shot – swinging away from the wall with an eagle casually dropping in.
This is one of those bizarre blogs that spins between detailing someone’s obsession with organic beans and their personal quest to run x kms in y minutes. Generally these are the home of the whimsically banal; tea, kittens, table runners and Tumblr filters.
In this case, however, there’s a nice little gimmick – one challenge every month and a yearly fundraising target. Kylie’s writing is curiously readable, and the photography isn’t bad either.
I’m also a huge fan of the header image, which is just a half-step away from ‘My Little Princess Pony Blog’ in an endearingly kitsch way. Check it out and see if you agree.
Look at the hideous title. Consider the Geocities-level design. Muse over the topics: a mixture of Krav Maga, Crossfit routines, and ‘inner Kung-Fu’ posts.
Thing is, though, I actually really enjoy the stuff that comes out of Combat Ready gym. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s not trying to be; there’s a no-nonsense approach to their content that I really appreciate. And the emphasis on having your training partner scream obscenities at you while slapping your face is almost certainly better self-defence practice than drilling the seven monkey forms or boxercise classes.
It’s technically not a fitness blog, and to be perfectly honest what I know about football, (let alone ‘fitba’), could be scrimshawed on one half of a ladybug’s back.
The writing, nonetheless, is fascinating to me. It’s like watching a Japanese game show – I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but I can tell that it’s entertaining. Like any trainspotter’s guide, it’s clearly a delight to the anoraks and a puzzling and somehow comforting read for the rest of us.
I’ve never even heard of a lot of this stuff – what is a quadrathlon? It sounds terrifying.
Fiona’s an intimidatingly fit human being with a professional pen. From bagging seven Munros in a day to shoe and kit reviews, there’s plenty of adventures and gear to gawk at, and it’s all done with a crisp and approachable style.
This is my favourite running blog, not least because Tracy has posted about a route in my home suburb in Sydney.
Although it’s the blog of a trainer, Griffen Fitness doesn’t have the mercenary or corporate feel about it that a lot of other company blogs do. It’s more of a personal blog, with insight into running a small business and work/life balance as well as running tips.
I hate to do this, because after that club that we don’t talk about there’s no social fitness group that benefits from an absence of tossers more than H3.
Hashing is a fascinating phenomenon born on the tropical hill stations and misty tea plantations of colonial Malaysia. Part adventure running, part drinking club, it takes all the naff communality of your local pub quiz and transplants it to a Sunday afternoon cross-country jog.
There’s only one piece of dynamic content on this site – the Hareline. Now play nice, and don’t ruin it for everyone else.
I’ll be honest: this isn’t my favourite blog, but that’s mostly attributable to the fact that a) I don’t like to move that much, and b) I don’t like to count that much.
These are two things that Lorn does, and does well. While I spread over the couch like a fungal infection, Lorn runs the equivalent of several marathons a week and quantifies the heck out of it.
Stop by here for spectacularly annotated training, progress and results as well as inspiration and tips on apps and tools to help you achieve goals and better yourself, you unpleasant maggot you.
Now this is something more my speed – a blog dedicated to “healthy minds, bodies and communities”. Plenty of genteel bouncercising, vegan green teas and leisurely strolls along the canals.
Taking the approach that a healthy mind and social life nourish a healthy body, it’s easy to justify reading about home-made ravioli rather than go for a run. Healthy Edinburgh is the fitness blog for those days when you prefer afternoon tea to squat thrusts.
The inclusion of this blog in a piece nominally about fitness is both a reflection on fitness blogs in general and a testament to the obsessive attention to detail of the crew involved here.
Historian David and editor Bob have put together a comprehensive blog on an archetypal Scottish sport that’s constantly being updated with new features – not only on the history of the game and its players, but on publications, organising bodies, photographs and stamps and other ephemeralia.
An incredible depth of research and warm enthusiasm for curling make the blog a genuinely fun way to spend an afternoon (I particularly recommend The mystery of the Traquir painting).
Best of all, there’s no protein, no squats.
The Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op is a solid organisation in its own right, with plenty of events and meetups, but what I’m mainly interested in is their feature articles, kit reviews and promotional offers.
EBC is for casuals and professionals alike, and covers everything from competitive cycling to the politics and engineering of the hobby. If it’s got two wheels, you’ll find it here.
The best of the rest
I’m sure there’s some gems out there I’ve missed, particularly in the niche sports. Give us a shout with your favourite sports or fitness related blogs in the capital and surrounds.