Crafty Friends

Daily Prompt: Craft

When I look at who my friends are, I am often surprised. The women I spend the most time with are between the ages of 20 and 40. I am almost 69.  I never even noticed that my friends were so much younger than me, or at least that so many of them were, until recently. I’m not sure what changed, but I’m glad it did.

 

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Me, Lucy, Jasmine and Alisha hiking Grays Mountain

I am a personal trainer at a local gym and, well not to brag but it does make me darn proud, there aren’t many women my age who can keep up with me.  Even though I don’t seek out young women to work out with, we seem to find each other.

 

Working out together is in some ways an intimate experience. We help each other with our form, which means looking at each other’s physical strengths and weaknesses. We know what makes each other sweat, laugh, and cry. Forty year’s difference in age doesn’t seem like much; fitness is a great equalizer.

Last night I had three of my young workout partners over for dinner. I wasn’t paying much attention to their conversation as I was clearing the table, but I heard them talking about someone who had made such a positive difference in their lives, inspired them to go college, and was proof that obstacles were just challenges in disguise. “Who are ya’ll talking about?” They started laughing, almost hysterically. “What’s so funny?”

 

portabello

 

“We’re talking about you!”

“You guys are embarrassing me.”

That’s when I saw it clearly for the first time. I could be mother or grandmother to these women, but instead they are my best friends. When they started telling me the ways I had inspired them, it was my turn to laugh.

 

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Jasmine, Alisha and me working at Bucklin Park

Yes, I inspire them, but they do the same for me–and they motivate me. They keep me focused on giving my best in a workout, they are interested in my life and never me old—well not much!  They respect my education, my fitness, and what they call “wisdom.” I call it survival strategies. If I didn’t work in a gym, I can’t imagine how our lives would have ever crossed. I love my job, and like many of you, feel it is my craft. These young women have been my inspiration to refine my craft, continue to improve, and learn. Because of them, I am the top trainer in our club. They have helped me better at almost everything I do. Because of them, I really feel that I have turned my job into a craft and look forward to going to work everyday.

 

I can’t do squat!

 

Daily Prompt – Sidewalk

I can’t do squat! And I mean that literally. The older I get, the less cooperative my knees are and the lower I can squat. This is probably the biggest reason my backside is flat as a pancake. Well, maybe not literally but pretty close. And every year, especially now that I’m closer to 70 than 60, what little rear end I have droops lower and lower. It’s been years since anyone told me that I squat “ass to the grass.”

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Seriously, who needs a butt when they can do an extended plank like this!

 

When I ask a potential female client what her goals are, nine times out of ten, it involves her booty.  For many women, working out is all about the butt. Harder, firmer, higher, rounder, smaller, less jiggly, ad infinitum. And the squat, of which there are hundreds of variations, is the all-time glute day favorite.

There are some girls (and by that I mean women under 40) who do glute work every day. I call them the “Queens of Squat,” and they love it when I bestow the title upon them. When I see one of the queens working out, I can’t help it, my mind starts reciting my pet gym mantra, “we must, we must, we must improve our butt.”

While my caboose may not be high and tight, it’s not too flabby either. And I owe my somewhat fit, tiny hiney to an exercise I lovingly call the “side walk” or “penguin walk.” My clients call it the walk from hell. There are several variations. If you are suffering with knee pain, choose a style that doesn’t require you to bend your knees. Remember, if there’s pain, you must abstain.

I like using a resistance band, but the “side walk” can be just as effective with your body weight, sans equipment.  If you tightly squeeze your gluteus muscles during this exercise, you will feel the burn. When a client tells me she thought of me every time she went to the potty, I know I’m doing my best work.

Here are the basics.

  • Position your feel shoulder width apart. The band should be taunt but not stretched. You can place the band above your knees or closer to your ankles. If you have a resistance tube, step on the tube and hold the handles to create resistance.
  • Bend your knees slightly and move into a half-squat position to activate the gluteus muscles.
  • Keeping your feet in line with your shoulders, step sideways to the right keeping the band tensed. Without releasing the band’s tension, continuing side stepping for 10 reps.
  • Repeat to the left for ten reps.

Trust me, you’ll be thinking about me tomorrow.

Where have all the bloggers gone?

 

It’s just not working! First of all, this whole blogging thing is hard, time consuming and frustrating. I thought I would write about health and fitness. Then I realized I wanted to write about other things too. Somewhere along the way I got lost.

What tags to use on my posts? What did I want to write about? How to find other people’s posts? How to use the information in the area that provides tags and categories. Half the time I can’t remember how to get to that page on the blog customizer. This was so frustrating, I wanted to quit.

But, I’m not a quitter. In fact, I’m known for my discipline and perseverance, i.e. graduate degrees, marathons, etc.

At first I didn’t make the connection between my decision to write about something other than fitness with my disillusionment with blogging in general. My whole life is about fitness. Hey, I’m a personal trainer. Yes, there are other things I can write about, and that’s ok. Enter Fundamentals of Blogging.Screenshot (21).png

The course is working! The assignment for today is to find other blogs to follow. I had been wondering where you went. It’s not your fault. I know that now. I just took a detour and never found my way back.

Now, I get it. Click on one of the tags I’ve entered and all the posts with that tag appear on the right side of the page! How simple is that. I have to wonder how I got through grad school.

Voila! There you are! You’re back. Now I just have to remember how I got here. And guess what? I love you. You’re inspiring me. I already have a million, zillion ideas—well maybe not that many—for topics to write about on my blog.

Not only was I over-thinking almost everything, I was making it so black and white. Duh! I can write on anything I want and I don’t have to give up writing on health/fitness/nutrition. All or nothing thinking is a habit I definitely need to break. Best of all, I can find you—great writers, fitness enthusiasts, healthy eaters, and on and on. I am one happy blogger.

How will I tag this post? I’m thinking “blogging,” “fundamentalsofblogging,” “fitness.” “Lost in cyber space”—that’s probably not a tag.

I think I’m going to like blogging after all.

 

There are now 4 of us!

Week 2, Day 1 of our 12-week workout program

If today’s workout is any indication, our 12-week program is going to be amazingly insane. It started this morning at 6:00am when Tonette showed up for spin class. Honestly, that woman never stops. “I’m doing two workout a day, starting this week,” she said.

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Sheila and JB

At 6:50 am Sheila showed up. Sheila is also Tonette’s mother. This is the best part of living in a small town! Seriously, it is just like in the movies—everyone does know everyone!

 

Sheila and I like quiet for our yoga, so we booted Tonette out—not an easy task. I basically had to push Tonette off her bike. The day was just getting started.

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JB pushing Tonette off her bike! (LOL)

 

Workout time for “The Three of Us” was 1:30 pm. When I arrived at the gym, Tonette was busily revising our workout and told me that Alisha’s sister, Jazmyn, was joining us. “Now we are four,” she said. Tonette is madly scratching through her planned workout, reorganizing and restructuring. She enters in pencil every exercise, reps, sets and weight in a small notebook she carries from station to station in the gym.

“Let’s just go,” I said. “We’ll figure it out.”

Tonette loves to be in charge, and I love to let her take over planning our workouts. As a personal trainer, I am so ready to not be in charge of a workout. But even by my standards, and I tend to be a little obsessive about planning workouts, Tonnette is over the top.

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Jazmyn, Alisha (photographer), JB, Tonette

We decided to partner up. Jazmyn and I would be together; Tonette and Alisha would pair up.

 

We love our gym, but it is small and has limited equipment. This usually isn’t a problem, even when the gym is crowded. But today it was. We all wanted the same weights, the same bench, the same everything! Tonette changed the order of the exercises and moved us around, and we still argued. It was laughable.

At one point, after Tonette had told me three different things to do, I balked. “I’m doing cross cable flies,” I said.

“That’s not the fly we’re doing,” she replied.

“It’s the fly I’m doing,” I said and set up the cables for the exercise. Smiling, I looked over at her and said, “Bitch.”

“You’re the bitch,” she smiled back pointing her finger.

Like I said, amazingly insane. Workout time tomorrow, 2:30 pm.

 

“The Three of Us”

We are three amazing women who like to be fit. We met and work out at Snap Fitness in El Centro, CA.  If you saw us, you probably wouldn’t match us up as workout buddies, but we make a great team. The Three of Us

Our ages are 33, 51, and 67 and we have differing levels of strength, flexibility, and endurance. One thing we have in common is our stubbornness. Things can get very interesting! Our goal is to keep each other motivated and committed to at least four workouts a week.

Each of us has one or two little body issues—hip replacement, arthritis, exercise-onset-migraines, bone spurs, sciatica—you get the idea. We modify the exercises to accommodate our bodies.

Last week we started a twelve-week workout program. Here’s our workout for the first three weeks. We do three sets of 12 reps for everything except abs, where we do 20 reps.

Week 1 workoutWe determine the order of our exercises based on the location of equipment in the gym and how crowded it is. We do super-sets rotating through three exercises, unless I can convince my partners to include an interval component—fat chance, but I keep trying.

I like circuit training and abs. Tonette hates circuit training and abs. I like body weight exercises. Both Tonette and Alisha like to lift heavy weights. We compromise.

Share the upcoming three months with us! We’re planning on having some fun. We’ll share our workout and nutrition tips and look forward to hearing about yours.