“I play basketball,” a trainer in the gym told me. “I ran cross country in middle school, but now, I play basketball.”
“They run cross country in MIDDLE school?” I asked, eyeing her tight little 20-something body that has about 10 percent body fat (I asked). That didn’t happen in MY junior high.
Ok, so let’s get serious. THIS is my sport:
Reclining position, cushy pillows, great book.
This is how I most enjoy the outdoors: A book, a great cup of something hot, a table by the window.
I love a good sofa, a dressing gown and a thick book. I excel at this position.
And yes, I can eat bon bons with the best of them. Olympic caliber. Even better, I love to make them. Or anything else. Love the kitchen.
Which is why I find myself listening to various fitness trainers tell me, “Kill it!” and let them hand me two 25 lb. free weights to carry as I do walking lunges. Because when all your favorite things to do are called “sedentary” and you are on the downhill side of life, you don’t want to slip and fall on your ass.
Yes, I’ve been at the gym for the past six months. It started because I knew our trip to India would be strenuous and I had set fitness aside for way too long. But when India went well, thanks to the efforts of a good trainer, I didn’t want to stop. It felt good to be strong and flexible. So I didn’t. I kept going and even doubled my efforts in the new year, hitting the gym hard, almost daily and working with my trainer 4-5 times a week on cardio and strength training. It is a serious investment of both time and money. Not to mention effort.
You’re probably thinking that this is my goal:
And maybe it is: to recline naked on the bed with a book while someone paints me, and to actually have a waistline like that. Maybe.
But it’s not what motivates me. Here’s what motivates me:
That’s right. Getting stronger. And I can tell that I am by the things I can now do in the gym. Weights that were too heavy a few months ago I lift now with ease. The length of time I can hold a plank has significantly increased. The number of minutes I can do a stairmaster without needing an ambulance–VERY notable, compared to December. Sure, I like being able to shop in my closet for clothes that haven’t fit in a while. I love that. But what I love more is when a new trainer says “You’re strong. I have a 20-year-old who can’t bench press that.”
I love the feeling of accomplishment. Of achieving strength.
Now look. I’ve never been skinny. Nor am I one to obsess about my weight like some of my friends. Maybe I should obsess more, but as my (skinny) sister-in-love said the other day, “I never look at a scale because it’s destructive. I can tell by my clothes when I need to cut back.” Of course, in my case, I just buy new clothes. Or that was the me of the past.
I’ve never been a jock, either. My siblings are fitness-oriented, like my father was. Me? I took after my mother, who was a world-class lounger. Oh, I do love to lounge. I always like to say “I’m the intellectual in a family of athletes” and to an extent, it’s true.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t get stronger. Fitter. And I am.
It’s not the aesthetics for me as much as it is noting my progress and accomplishment. My strength. And that’s what keeps me going to the gym.
Here’s what’s important to take away from this post:
Obsessing about weight adds needless stress to your life. Stop it.
Lounging on the sofa with a book and bon bons has its place, but so does fitness.
Some kind of working out is an important health care activity for any woman on the downhill side of 50.
Establishing the habit makes “motivation” less necessary. Because your progress becomes your reward.
So there you have it. If you want to know more, email me. If you want to share your own fitness story in the comments below, I’d love to hear it.