When I reconnected with Jordan, an old childhood friend, I was excited. He was a nice guy with a good heart, and over our phone conversations, he always kept me laughing. There was something there, but before I could let the butterflies take over, I knew I would have to tell him that I was HIV-positive.I worried what he’d think of me, and I also worried that because of my status, he wouldn’t think it was worth it to pursue a relationship with me. Though I feared the conversation would be the end of whatever we had together, I knew I had to tell him my HIV story before it went any further. It was the right thing to do, but it wasn’t easy.I was only 22 when I felt my lymph nodes start swelling. It was painful, and one of them was so big, I could see it protruding from my neck. I went to a primary care doctor, who gave me antibiotics that helped the swelling some. Three weeks later, I saw a specialist who discovered I had human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. If left … [Read more...] about ‘How I Told My Partner That I’m HIV-Positive’
I did my best
Gerda Samuels knew she needed to stay active, but she never expected that she'd be crossing the finish line for the first time in her 9th decade. (Burn calories and build muscle—all while boosting your mood—with our 21-Day Walk a Little, Lose a Lot Challenge!)I'm an old lady. But last May, when I crossed the finish line at my first-ever race—a 2-mile fun run to raise money for my local YMCA—I didn't feel old: I felt jubilant. After the race there were strangers hugging and congratulating me. I suppose they don't often have an 83-year-old participating with them!I've always been somewhat fit, and I used to belong to a gym near my home in Prescott, AZ. But when the gym shut its doors 3 years ago, I had nowhere to exercise. I'd occasionally go for a hike with friends or my husband, but I was reluctant to do it on my own. There are mountain lions here, and encountering one might finally finish me off. MORE: How To Start Walking When You Have 50+ Pounds To … [Read more...] about I Did My First Race At Age 83!
Ask anyone who knows me: I am an unaffiliated IUD evangelist. I’ve written about how awesomely convenient and cost-effective they are, encouraged girlfriends to get them when they were on the hunt for new birth control (and even when they were not), and basically sung praise on high about the preferred method of gynecologists to the point of being obnoxious. I’m not sorry about it: I really think the IUD is an amazing, underutilized pregnancy prevention tool that should be introduced to women right alongside the pill. For that reason, I said, "I do” to a device of my own several years ago, and—apart from some early cramping at the outset—I’d been unwaveringly happy with that decision. RELATED: 9 Things You Need to Know About IUDsBut recently, after three years together, I had my IUD removed. My reasoning was admittedly irrational, but I knew in my head—and my heart—that it was the right thing for me to do. So this is the "Dear John" … [Read more...] about Why I Removed My IUD After My Father Passed Away
Although I did cross-country in high school, I never considered myself a runner until my senior year of college when I picked up the sport for (dare I say it) fun. I would go at my own pace, listen to my favorite tunes, and spend time exploring the great outdoors on foot. Two years ago, I gathered up the courage to spontaneously sign up for a half marathon—something that my teenage self wouldn't have believed.I’ve completed two more half marathons since then, and now I finally understand why people say they're “addicted” to running. Yes, finishing 13.1 miles requires you to build up mileage and leg strength over time, but the commitment doesn’t change your entire life. Plus, you get to scratch something pretty epic off your bucket list. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal! (Looking for a running challenge? Sign up for Women's Health's Run 10 Feed 10 10-K Race!) But when I found out I got into the NYC Marathon earlier this year, I knew from … [Read more...] about ‘I Did 60 Lunges Every Day For 2 Weeks—Here’s What Happened’
This article was written by Jenny McCoy and provided by our partners at Runner's World.Let’s cut to the chase: training for a marathon can be a pretty gnarly endeavor: nasty, unattractive, and downright disgusting.You see, when you begin running long distances, a lot of things happen to your body: surprising, strange, borderline repulsive things.I’m about to compete in my first-ever 26.2 mile race: The New York City Marathon, on November 6. And while I can’t wait, when people ask how the training’s been, I have two words for them: not pretty.Here are the weirdest, grossest things that have happened to me over the past four months—and how I overcame them to make it to the starting line anyway.Training for a Marathon? Try Runner’s World’s Marathon Training PlansTwo weeks into my training, I lost the big toenail on my left foot. It happened quickly, and painfully. The first sign of trouble was a throbbing sensation that developed after a … [Read more...] about 7 TMI Things That Happened When I Trained for My First Marathon
By the time a man reaches a certain age--say, 7--he's been presented with a list of several thousand things he is not supposed to do. He's not supposed to run with scissors; he's not supposed to talk with his mouth full; and he is not, under any circumstances, supposed to put the small child from across the street into the dryer--at least not in such a way that the act might actually be traced back to him. Most of us nod and do our best to follow these rules, but underneath, there's always that curiosity: Would it really be so bad if I did that? Would there really be any consequences? Enough wondering, we say. We rounded up men's most nagging curiosities, tracked down some experts, and asked them, "Hey, smart guy, what would happen if I actually . . . "If it fell perfectly, Lincoln's mini memorial would reach close to 210 miles per hour. But this isn't a perfect world: "The penny would be somersaulting like crazy," says Lou Bloomfield, Ph.D., author of How Things Work: The … [Read more...] about What if I Did?
When I wanted to try CrossFit, I dragged one of my best friends to a beginner’s class with me. And although she was a good sport about it, she mentioned on our drive home how the deadlifts-crunches-burpees circuit would have been so much better had it been just deadlifts and crunches. I was shocked. To me, the burpees were the best part. It was then that I realized not everyone is as crazy as I am—not everyone enjoys burpees. This got me thinking: What if I incorporated burpees into my daily routine? I did some digging into the origin of the exercise, and I found out they were created in 1939 by a man named Royal H. Burpee to determine a person’s physical fitness. Back then, the move didn't include a pushup in the middle or the jump at the end, but it was still dreaded. First, I wanted to make sure my form was on point. I decided to do the modern burpee, not the old-school version from the 1930s.I read some how-tos. To do a burpee, start from a standing … [Read more...] about I Did 30 Burpees For 15 Days and Here’s What Happened
(Editor's note: Men's Health was awarded a 2011 American Society of Magazine Editor's award for personal service, honoring the superior and consistent use of print to serve readers' needs and aspirations, for this article.)It's June 20th, the first day of summer in 2008. I'm knocked out on an operating table and a robot is removing my prostate gland. In April I learned I had stage II prostate cancer, and after questioning experts and survivors, I've decided surgery is the way to go. Let's git 'er done. My mom died of cancer, but not me. No way. Now, almost 2 years later, I'm not going to say, "thank god they caught it in time ... I'm so blessed, each new morning is a miracle...Blah blah blah blah." No, what I'm thinking is more along the lines of: I want my prostate back. Your prostate gland labors in obscurity. The size of a golf ball, it's tucked away under your bladder, biding its time until you and your reproductive system decide to emit the sacred seed. Then the semen assembly … [Read more...] about I Want My Prostate Back
Since working at Women's Health, I've met a few badass girls who've tackled triathlon and Ironman events. And from what I can tell, those are pretty damn hard.Though running several miles, jumping into open water (fish = scary), and then peeling off a wetsuit to hop on a bike sounds like my nightmare, I was super pumped when Adidas invited me out to gorgeous Santa Monica to compete in Wanderlust's "mindful triathlon" (or Wanderlust 108).RELATED:What It's Like to Do Yoga with 10,000 PeopleWhat this entails: running a 5-K, doing yoga, and meditating. And after all of that, I get to tell people I did a triathlon!Here's how it all went down:Preparing for BattleInstagram-worthy yoga pose, and (most importantly) get tribal tattooed up.When I noticed the crew of neon-tatted dudes with markers in their hands, I knew it was time. I walked up to one of the guys and said, "Hi! I'd like a tattoo!" and closed my eyes, so he could get to work on my face. Apparently, I did it wrong.He said, … [Read more...] about I Did a Yoga Triathlon—Here’s What That Was Like
A couple of months ago, my nose led me to an introductory seminar on essential oils. In this seminar, I learned about aromatherapy—also known as essential oil therapy. Yeah I know how it sounds—a man surrounded by beautiful fragrances in a room full of women. It may sound a little feminine, but I am always open to trying new things, especially when it can improve my health. And this is what I want to share with you: everything I learned about how you can improve your health with essential oils. It’s true; the scents from various essential oils can help treat many health conditions. In the essential oil seminar, I was able to witness the therapeutic effects of essential oils for myself. An essential oil magically relieved my headache, and it also helped calm my emotions, which seemed to be out of control at the moment. But what are essential oils exactly? They are simply volatile aromatic compounds found within flowers, seeds, stems, roots, and other plant … [Read more...] about How I Improved My Health with Essential Oils