As I huffed and puffed on the stairclimber on a Monday morning, I reflected on my weekend – not on my overindulgence of food and wine but on friendship. I had just spent a weekend with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have been friends for close to thirty years and every time we get together, it’s as if time has not passed. Girls need girlfriends. We crave and seek out time with our girlfriends. . . because only females will appreciate our silly stories about getting lost, our need for a new wardrobe and our new appreciation for Skechers shoes (OMG, so comfortable!). Our husbands will just roll their eyes or pretend to be amused but you know inside they are thinking “what the heck is she prattling on about”. Guys have a different genetic makeup than us. They don’t care about the little minute details that us chicks love to share.
I realized this annual weekend is good for my soul and my healthy well being. As a 48 year old woman, it is hard to find women to relate to. As an adult, we are all at different stages of our lives and it becomes more glaring as you reach middle age. Some of us have kids going off to college and others of us have kids who have not yet entered middle school. There are those of us who have gone through divorce, some of us struggle to pay our bills and others of us are jet setting on vacation every other weekend. All this makes for a disconnect at times as jealousy, frustration and sometimes just a plain lack of empathy sneaks in. Some friendships run their course and we no longer relate to each other or find each other’s silly stories about getting lost funny anymore. At times, we have to take a break from each other and reunite weeks, months or even years later. And sometimes, we just need to say goodbye because a friendship has become toxic, one sided or jealousy has reared its ugly head. I’ve experienced all of these phases of friendships and none of them are pleasant which makes me appreciate and cherish the friends that I’ve had for an eternity.
Studies have shown that both physical and social activities promote endorphin release. So as I finished climbing that stairclimber, wiped sweat from my brow and those endorphins started to kick in, I realized the feeling was like spending time with an old friend – euphoric and a general feeling of well being. Okay, I wouldn’t say the stairclimber was euphoric but giggling with my best girlfriend certainly was!
I will confess that I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books that specialize in nutrition, beauty and/or exercise. Oh yes, and who can forget “self-help” books. I collect those too . . . because there is always need for self improvement! I also need to order a hard copy of these books because I have to be able to hold them and peruse them several times, especially if there are photos. If I put them on my IPad I can’t pick them up and put them down several days in a row. I cannot earmark the pages. More importantly, I cannot add them to the mountain of books that are collecting bedside. It really is a whole process. The problem with collecting these books is that I will only read a few chapters that interest me. I promise myself that I will go back and read more but I usually don’t – perhaps there is a self-help book for that! I become distracted with other reading material and then another nutrition book comes along that interests me. But through this mass of books, there are a few that really stand out and make sense. These are the books that I like to recommend to clients and one of them is “The Ageless Diet” by Tania Van Pelt. It is not a diet book at all but prescribes healthy habits that you can incorporate into your daily living from vitamins to meditation. I always tell my clients to peruse the books that I recommend and take the tidbits that resonates with them and try to incorporate each piece weekly. I propose that you all should do the same with this book and add it to your mountain of bedside books.
So I don’t consider myself a “gym rat” so to speak but I prefer to be referred to as a person who likes to work out a lot and spends a significant amount of time in the gym. Today, when I had finished my work out which included heavy lifting, I needed to get my protein in before my next client . . . and as I poured the contents of the protein powder packet into my water bottle while holding my arm outside the open car door in freezing cold . . I thought to myself . . . this is so flipping crazy. We work out to look good but a majority of the time, us “gym rats” have dirty hair, sweaty clothes, and some form of protein powder on our pants, shirts, and in my case, all over the arm sleeve of my coat. When training for fitness shows, we eat five times a day at a minimum. Consequently, I’ve consumed asparagus and chicken out of a plastic bag in my car numerous times. Inevitably, I’m driving and digging underneath my seat for the dropped asparagus or reaching for a napkin but out of desperation using my leggings. Fitness truly is not a glamorous hobby or job. I do not look like the girls on the cover of fitness magazines with fluffy hair and cool work out clothes. Many times, I go days without washing my hair because I’m scheduled to teach class at night so why bother? Dry shampoo is my best friend. Some days I don’t even put real pants on! A “gym rat” is defined as “someone who spends all leisure time playing sports or working out in a gymnasium or health spa, addict, freak, junky, junky nut – someone who is so ardently devoted to something that it resembles an addiction.” I’m not sure if I’m offended by this definition but on the other hand, if a driver went by while I was pouring protein powder all over my extended arm . . they probably would have said “look at that freak” . . . I know I would.
Originally posted September 2016 –
Today was a tough day for me to get motivated. I’m sure most of you have encountered this. With many jobs and a flexible schedule, I had this morning free. Instead of hopping out the door at 7 a.m., I found myself reading another chapter in my book, having a 2nd cup of coffee, turning the TV on and making a leisurely breakfast. I pretty much could have wasted 2 more hours doing nothing. But instead, I decided to put my bright pink pants on and get moving. While driving to the gym, tuning into Sirius 80’s channel, I started my “in car” dance party to get the blood flowing . . singing Roxette – “She’s got the look” (Oh, yes I do with my bright pink pants!). It’s hard to dig deep and find motivation sometimes. I see it with my clients, some days their head is just not into that work out. And it’s ok. It happens! The important thing is you made the effort and you are still moving your body. I tell clients all the time, even if you work out for 15 minutes, that’s better then not at all. So as I sashayed toward the gym door, I hummed lyrics from the St Elmos Fire theme song (yes I know, very old, right?). But this is not bad advice for an 80’s theme song . . . . “You know you can’t quit until it’s won, Soldier on, Only you can do what must be done” and in I went with my bright pink pants!