About feministfiguregirl

I am a 51-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. About eight years ago, I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

Things I Do to Look Younger

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This post is not about how to take selfies in flattering lighting conditions while wearing glasses to hide eye bags.

Get ready for some awesome advice about how to defy the ageing process. This post is aimed at people who are rather old, like me. Don’t worry. I will not be talking about face cream, chemical injections, or how to improve your pathetically thin eyebrows! My advice is simple, easy to follow, and gender neutral. Plus it just makes sense. Continue reading

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Wasting Time at the Gym

I no longer work out two hours per day, but I still spend quite a bit of time at the gym, about one hour six days per week. While warming up on the rowing machine or re-racking the bar in the mirrored squat rack, I take a look around. Sometimes I admire the masterful technique of those nearby. Sometimes I get ideas for new exercises, helping me to plan the next work out with Dr. Ironcore. And sometimes I become irrationally annoyed by people who don’t seem to be working out at all. They are just wasting time. Continue reading

Training in the Moment

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uplay2After stashing my purse in the corner of the indoor playground, I jump on the wide blue trampoline, rising higher and higher. The stress of the week leaves my upper back and neck regions. A bolt of freedom shoots from my entrails to the top of my head. I relish the sheer physicality of the moment, without a care in the world.

I have no idea where my kid is.  Continue reading

The Last Spin Class

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This title is meant to recall the title of the best-selling book, The Last Lecture (2008), written by Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science who had terminal cancer. Just before his death he delivered pithy life lessons to his students, or at least I think so. I have not read his final words and have no interest in doing so. I thought of Pausch’s book today only because I taught my last spin class, after offering between 2-4 classes per week for the last five years. Although I am not dying anytime soon—thankfully I am fit as a fiddle—I did feel a sense of loss when I decided to throw in my cleats. Continue reading