Running a business and trying to stay in shape is a constant challenge. My best motivation to keep fit is right after I’ve showered and weighed myself; you know the time, when you are most disgusted with the worst friend in the world who you keep in your bathroom on the floor? That’s the time I should get on my bike to go work out. It’s also at that time that I realize, I need to be downstairs creating a food masterpiece for breakfast for my guests and I can’t go anywhere, so I don’t. By the time the guests have checked out, so has my motivation.
I was recently at the gym working out near my daughter, who just achieved top provincial salesperson as assistant fitness manager in her national gym, and observed her enthusiasm and humour as she dealt with her latest customer. I’m so proud of her work and accomplishments she has achieved. They love her at the gym; she cute, she’s funny, bubbly, tiny, beautiful, like a miniature Thai princess. No one should look that good in spandex or work golf shirts. My only consolation is that I used to look that tiny once and one day she will turn into me and she thinks it will never happen if she doesn't want it to. Mwahahahaha, that makes me smile, wickedly.
After the short exercise set, she told the woman ‘good job’ and raised her hand to high five. I discreetly shook my head and said, you don’t high five older (50+) women; men maybe, because they are just so happy to have a nubile young girl touching them and it’s part of the sport culture they grew up with…young people sure, but never older women. We think it’s dumb. We would much prefer a verbal “great job” confirmation than the silly high five. She hotly disagreed and said some jump to do it even if she’s not initiating.
I thought about that and I think it’s because we are of a different era. We don’t want to have this tiny person in authority over our fitness and weight to think we’re not cool. We are so relieved to understand that when the young adult raises their hand, they are not getting ready to hit us. The hand raise is not to fist bump, chest bump, clap or do a clever hand welcome maneuver or whatever else inappropriate our options are. We know that not only is the high five the only alternative to not looking stupid but also that the instructor seems pleased with us but make no mistake, we hate doing it. Pay attention kids. We hate doing it, whether it’s at meeting, or fitness clubs or most places you can come up with. You play a football game or baseball outside with us and the play goes well, then yes, that is the exception to high five an older lady. May you find out your adult child has just told you they are moving out- definitely a loophole to the rule! High five away. I have an older female friend who hotly disagrees, but she is wrong. Case closed!
Daughter shook her head in disgust and said “what would I know about fitness” and that got me thinking. The audacity of her to think she invented exercise and how to do things properly. I have been exercising for 32 years, since when I joined the military, and then always belonged to private national gyms long before we dragged the ankle biters in diapers to daycares at the gym. We parents modelled fitness, healthy living and sports long, long before the children ever jumped on the band wagon. Truth be told, they were young adults before they finally embraced the gym. We had been eating healthy for years before they suddenly told us that we should have chicken and veggies, “which are good for us”, don’t cha know. Lordy, they are the epitome of righteous and know-it-allness. I think some think they should set up shop on the mountain top so peons like you and I will go to them for their precious advice.
To add to my wisdom from age, over the last 32 years, I had been to more doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists from hell, Osteopaths and physiotherapists for fitness injuries than she could ever dream. I have learned massage and healing from the best of the best because I always shopped around when I had insurance. I have entire binders of exercises they have me doing if I throw out my back, my tennis elbow, my rotator cuff, my bum knee, bad wrist, cricked neck, and sciatica... I know what to do for most ailments, pulls, strains, and muscle booboos. You tell me some symptoms and I bet I can hazard a guess at what you have or should do and then I see her teaching one of the stretches I learned years ago for shoulders. Maybe I should be teaching cause we all know those who don't, teach.
When she told me her elbow and forearm really hurt, and she was setting up an appointment for surgery, I suggested that it might be tennis elbow or carpal tunnel and to give me her arm so I could massage it near the elbow and adjust her hand for a good stretch. She was in heaven and every time I went to the gym, like Pavlov’s dogs salivating, her arm would rise as I neared her, no not to hug me but rather to receive her free treatment. I’m not just an old, wrinkly pretty face. I know stuff too.
I have followed more fitness crazes and regimes from Stop the Insanity, Sweating with the Oldies, The Thigh Master, Atkins Diet, Cabbage Soup, and of course everyone knows the Lemon, cayenne, honey drink (that they think they created)…well the list is long, longer than she could ever imagine but now I’m obsolete, I know. One time, (ok, 100 times) I get caught saying, “if you asked me if I went to the gym today, the answer would be yes. I did. I spent some of it in the massage chairs, the sauna, visiting with said daughter and once, so tired, falling asleep on all the machines.” As if she knows everything.
You’ll never find me on the treadmill without a good book or my preferred Kindle. There’s always a workbook or novel nearby if I get bored, and works well in the sauna since I can’t bring my electronics. I discovered that I need a special bag when I work out to carry all my stuff. Yes, I’m the queen of Bag ladies.
Recently I took an inventory of what was in it. My kindle goes everywhere with me but if it’s running low on juice, I need my remote juice charger. I have my cell attached to me at all times since I run the business and have to be on high alert in case the phone rings and a drop-in is moments away from arriving. I also have my old I-phone with all the music on it since no one, and I mean no one can figure out how to transfer my playlist to the new Android. Most annoying! And finally I have my huge Blue Tooth headphones which I won at a work networking event. I only use these for about 15 minutes when I warm up on the rowers. When I start a machine, I line up the Kindle, the I-phone and the Samsung cell. I almost need a backpack cuz I have my hand towel, a handful of old ladies Kleenexes, a soft cover Readers Digest, just in case all technology fails, a workbook and pen if I’m on a stationary bike and having an inspiration, mini headphones if I’m on the big stepper, lipsol, and reading glasses. I need to lift weights just to be able to lift my bag to go lift weights. And she thinks I don’t know what I’m doing.
Now I know my workouts are very basic. I don’t want to be there but I’m nearing 60; cut me some slack. I’ve done my time as a gym rat; now it’s maintenance. If I didn’t ever go, I’d blow up from late night eating, leftover from the B&B dessert binge eating. I tell myself I’m doing myself a favour by just eating all the junk food in the house so that I can get get rid of it. There are flaws to my system, I know but I did go to the gym today and if you go midday, it can be so quiet, you’ll catch some of the best zzz’s of your day getting some shiatzu while in “the happy chair”. The nerve of her thinking I don’t know what I’m doing in the gym. The audacity of youth!!!