In case you missed the news, Mr. Olympia Mamdouh Elssbiay, aka Big Ramy, is now in the United States to finish preparing to defend his title in Orlando, Florida on the weekend of October 7th through 10th. The champ is sparing no reps, steps, or calories. That’s because he knows that he facing a stacked lineup of Olympia contenders.
The Olympia features the best of the best in the sport, and they didn’t get there by accident. All of the men Elssbiay will face earned their way to that stage, and they’re going all in to take his title. Fortunately, some of the contenders share part of that commitment on Instagram so you can soak in that inspiration from these Olympia contenders and go all in for your next training session. Here’s a sneak peek at what some of the elite bodybuilders in the game are doing to prepare for the Olympia.
One of the topics that we explore extensively in my sex and culture course in Amsterdam is sex work. As part of this course, I give my students the opportunity to speak with current and former sex workers about their experiences in the industry and, not surprisingly, one of the topics that always comes up is money.
What exactly is the price of sex in Amsterdam?
Before we answer that, it’s worth noting that prostitution is legal and government regulated in the Netherlands. However, this isn’t to say that all sex work that occurs in the Netherlands is legal. In order for it to be legal, it must operate within the confines of the law.
So, for example, someone running a brothel would need to secure the necessary license/permit from the government, pay taxes, and comply with all regulations. In other words, there are a lot of hoops to jump through—and, as a result, this had led to the emergence of a sex work shadow industry that operates outside of the law. In fact, some believe that this shadow industry is many times larger than the legalized industry.
How things work in the shadow industry in terms of pricing, we don’t really have a good sense of. So what we’re talking about in this post is sex work that occurs within the legal framework in the Netherlands.
Based on what several workers have told me, there seems to be a pretty standard going rate in the Red Light District, where (usually) scantily clad workers stand behind floor-to-ceiling windows and beckon potential customers as they walk by. That rate is 50 Euro (or about $60 USD) for 15-20 minutes. However, this only applies to what many workers refer to as “basic sex” (their phrase, not mine), meaning penis-in-vagina intercourse.
Of course, you can negotiate to do more or to stay longer, but only if you’re willing to pay extra. So, for example, if you have kinks or fetishes, you want kissing, you have a spouse/partner who wants to watch or participate, or you want something else beyond intercourse, that’s all individually negotiated and added to the price. However, workers have the freedom to decide whether they want to indulge your requests, and most workers I’ve spoken with have said they have firm limits on what they will and won’t do (for example, ‘no anal’ is the most common limit I’ve heard). So it’s not the case that money can buy whatever you want.
Pricing works differently outside of the Red Light District—and it really depends on the venue in which sex is being sold. For example, I spoke with a woman who formerly worked in a high-end gentleman’s club in a residential area outside the city center. The price there is 300 Euro per hour ($350-360 USD) with a one-hour minimum. And, again, that’s the price for “basic” sex—anything beyond that costs extra.
At these clubs, the men usually stay for a few hours because they’re looking for more than just sex—they’re looking for conversation and connection as well (or “the girlfriend experience,” as some call it). And depending how long they stay, how many bottles of champagne they buy, and what they want, they may very well end up paying thousands of Euros for an evening.
That said, it’s important to note that the workers aren’t taking home as much of that money as you think. For window workers (who are independent contractors) the cost of renting a window in the most desirable area during peak hours can cost as much as 150 Euro (approximately $175 USD). Thus, a worker would need to see three clients per shift just to pay for the space. Even then, however, she’d be losing money because this isn’t tax-free income.
To pay the window fee, account for taxes, and make a solid income, you’d probably need to see 6-10 clients per shift if you were a window worker.
By contrast, if you’re working in a high-end gentleman’s club, you split your hourly earnings with the club. However, you can make a solid income in this setting by seeing just one client per shift if you can get them to stick around for multiple hours and upsell them on extras (for example, workers get a commission on champagne purchases).
I should clarify that everything mentioned above applies to women selling sex to men because women are the most common sellers and men are the most common buyers in Amsterdam (in fact, there are no men who work behind the windows and, from what I understand, there’s only one brothel with male workers). I’d be curious to know how rates vary when workers are men or trans, but thus far, the only sex workers I’ve met in Amsterdam are cisgender women.
So there’s your inside look at how sex work ‘works’ in regulated settings in Amsterdam. What do you think? Are the numbers about what you expected or do they surprise you?
Follow the blog to keep up on what we’re learning during our study abroad trip, and follow our daily adventures or live vicariously through us on Instagram @JustinJLehmiller
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Image Source: Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash
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When you’re working out, working up a sweat, pushing yourself to your limits, wanting maximum gains, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your clothing. You want to know you look good, feel happy and comfortable in the clothes you are in, and be sure that you are getting the best support in sports performance from your gym wear. You don’t want to be fretting that your clothing is ill fitting, your footwear is inappropriate or you’re over heating from incorrect materials; so, give yourself the best possible chance of a good workout, with the correct clothing and equipment.
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Jason Scott Lee is no stranger to testing his limits in order to take on challenging roles but a year ago, at 53, he stunned the world by cutting down to 4% bodyfat to play the evil Böri Khan in the Disney+ live action movie, Mulan. Seemingly fitter than ever, this martial artist has learned to live off the land and work with the pros and cons that come with maturity.
Here, the popular actor speaks about stepping out of his comfort zone, seeing the fruits of his labor, and joining the cast of the Disney hit Doogie Kamealhoa, MD.
Lee’s résumé is packed. The movie star has played Mowgli in the live action version of Jungle Book, has lent his voice to animations such as Lilo & Stitch, and is perhaps best known for the lofty role of Bruce Lee (no relation) almost 30 years ago in the film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
But his successful career comes as a result of a willingness to step outside of his comfort zone. Following small roles in Matlock and The A-Team, the fledgling actor was a surprise pick for the high-profile role of the martial arts icon for the 1993 film because, despite having a strong likeness to Bruce, Jason Scott Lee had no prior martial arts experience before his star turn in Dragon.
“The teacher I had was a former student of Bruce,” says Lee, referring to well-known Jeet Kune Do instructor Jerry Poteet, who died in 2012 at age 75. “I became engaged. A lot of times, people think, ‘Oh, you are training for this film,’ and they think it’s a physical thing, but so much of it was about sitting with a pot of green tea and having discussions. Like they say, the mind is first and the body will follow. That kind of introduction to martial arts was invaluable. The physical training was pretty much along the lines of how Bruce drilled [his students]. We used focus mitts and concentrated on hitting things, and making contact, and feeling it.” Throwing himself into an unfamiliar role brought an air of authenticity to his portrayal of Bruce Lee that garnered critical acclaim.
Lee bought a farm in Hawaii 20 years ago and completely disconnected with his acting career for several years. He started taking calls from Hollywood once again in 2014, and has been busier than ever, but the opportunity of playing the villain, Böri Khan meant he had to get shredded. Lee wanted to see if he was up to the task and so just like with Dragon, he had to prepare himself mentally first.
“I think as you get older, your mind gets stronger,” says Lee. “My trainer and I worked on a promise to get down to 4% body fat. I thought it was impossible at my age. I was 52 at the time. You just stay on that path — it’s just day to day.”
Under the guidance of his trainer, Bojan Mladenovic, Lee worked out twice each day, for almost three months. Even the warmups were intense, often comprising of half-hour bear-crawl sessions. It was tough, but Lee found the process was manageable if he kept his diet on point and made sure to get plenty of sleep. “You are pretty golden if you can have that kind of discipline,” he says.
When it came to nutrition, breakfast would often mean 10 egg whites followed by a banana. “Some people talk about cheat days, but I didn’t really feel that I needed one,” says Lee. “Some days were harder than others. Midday was chicken breast, 10 egg whites and a banana. Then a little coconut water after a workout, and maybe a handful of walnuts or almonds between things. That kind of kept me going and I did supplement with American ginseng and a little cordyceps — that kept my immunity strong.” Mladenovic also recommended that Lee take some apple cider vinegar in the morning mixed with turmeric and lemon juice.
“Before Mulan, I was living in Singapore and a lot of the food is so oily and salty, that I was carrying a bit of [extra] weight on me. A friend recommended that, as I was going through this transformation, I should eat parsley. I would buy it from the market, a bunch of it, stick it in a vase of water, and every day I could pluck it off.” Parsley contains chlorophyll, which is attributed with detoxing the body and providing energy.
Once again, Lee’s next project will take his acting skills to new places as he joins the cast of Doogie Kamealoha, MD, set to stream on Disney+ starting Sept. 8. “It’s very different,” says Lee. “It’s a foray into comedy, because it’s a dramady. It’s kind of a reimagination of Doogie Houser, MD. It’s the story of a 16-year-old genius prodigy who becomes a doctor, and I play her father Benny, who’s from the Hawaiian Islands. My character’s background is in finance, but he quit the rat race and bought a flower truck. It’s a nice take and it has very authentic cultural values. It’s beautifully shot.”
While comedy may be newer territory for Lee than, say, action roles, this latest character is not so far removed from his own values. Lee lives on a 25-acre farm at the top of a mountain in Hawaii and when he’s not being so strict with his diet, the actor still believes in eating whole foods and cutting out processed fats and sugars. “Being out in the country here, and having a little bit of a homestead, a farm, I see it in my children,” says Lee. “They love it. They are having the time of their life. I’m enjoying being a dad, being a father, and seeing them enjoy that freedom.”
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