fitness · martial arts · motivation

Fighting With Myself (Guest Post)

The hardest fight I have in Taekwondo is the battle with myself. In order to make progress and to improve my skills, I have to fight my concept of time and my sense of ‘good practice.’

An agenda book with a pen

I want to do everything at once and I want to do it at the perfect time. In the fictional world where I can do this, my practice space is tidy, my work is neatly portioned into appropriate slots, and my family is delightfully engaged in their own wholesome pursuits. And, of course, in this world, I know the exact right thing to practice at this point. My perfect practice self has identified a course of progressive work that starts at the ‘true’ baseline and will bring me forward in a logical fashion. This will lead naturally toward my goal of being a super-fit Taekwondo genius with strength beyond measure.

I can hear you laughing at me from here. It’s okay. Go ahead.

I know I am being ridiculous.

I know there is no perfect practice time and there is no perfect practice plan. I know that something is better than nothing. I know that any work will bring me closer to being a 3rd degree black belt.

Yet, I get tangled up in this intellectual exercise of perfect practice at the perfect time. It ensnares me so completely that I have trouble doing anything at all.

This doesn’t just happen to me with exercise, of course. I have the same trouble with all kinds of things. The familiarity of the feeling has indeed bred contempt but it still crops up all the time.

When I make a plan to exercise in the morning, my brain gives me 5 or 6 reasons why it’s really not the best time – it’s better to write first thing, or I should probably focus on getting enough sleep, or, I am not awake enough to have good form, or I might not have time to shower afterward and that will throw off my morning.

When I plan to exercise in the afternoon, the litany goes like this – you don’t want to waste water taking two showers a day so you’ll feel weird all day until you exercise, or you will probably be in the middle of something in the afternoon and you won’t want to stop, or that it will be a hassle to change clothes and put on a sports bra in the middle of the day.

The evening is no better because then my brain says that I am taking away from family time and that if I work too hard, I will have trouble sleeping later.

I would be less annoyed about all of this if I didn’t actually enjoy exercising. No matter what time of day I actually get over myself and start moving, I always like it, but my brain forgets that in the effort of finding the perfect schedule.

After I clear that scheduling hurdle, though, I have to win the battle of the perfect practice. (Yes, I get on my own nerves with this part, too.)

In my post two weeks ago, I identified all of the things that I want to improve as I move toward my next belt test. I want greater strength, I want greater balance, I want to improve my skills, and so on. The trouble is, that I want to do all of those things at once. Any time that I am working on one piece, my brain reminds me that I *should* be working on the others. It refuses to believe that I have to work on one thing at a time.

The problem is not that I want instant results – although, I’ll take them if someone is giving them out. It’s that some part of me refuses to believe that the results will be achieved by doing things one at a time. So, I keep seeking this perfect practice plan that will make it obvious to my brain that I am doing the *right* thing right now and that I am on the road to my goal.

I know better than this, too, of course. I know that I don’t actually need to do everything all at once. I can work on my balance today and my cardio tomorrow and it will all come together in the end, but, yet, I resist getting started. Some part of me fears that I will be ‘wasting time’ on the wrong exercises – and, no, the foolishness of thinking any that exercise could be wasted is not lost on me.

Typing this all out has made me even more aware of how silly all of this is. I am working against my own interests and I need to get over myself and take more action. I have to borrow from the basic tenets of Taekwondo and remind myself to use self-control and perseverance.

So, here’s how I am going to win this battle against myself: I am committing to practicing for at least 30 minutes in the morning for the next seven days. I will design my practice the night before and include a variety of exercises that will help me get stronger and have better balance.

I’m going to give myself the week off from overthinking my exercises and I am just going to enjoy them.

I’ll take this one week at a time for now. I don’t have to solve this all at once.

Here’s to winning this battle!

KIYA!

fitness

Happy birthday, Sam!

Image description:
Image description: “Happy birthday!” where each letter is a different colour (yellow, white, purpose, blue, white, green, orange) and it’s surrounded by cartoonish stars and flowers also in different colours, against a blurry coloured background.

I can’t even begin to list all the amazing gifts Fit Is a Feminist Issue has brought my way. But one of the biggest is being able to collaborate on something worthwhile with my longtime friend, Sam.

Happy birthday, Sam! You are awesome!

Lots of love,

Tracy

fitness

Oh Routine, How I Love Thee!

Image description: cartoon of four owls (purple, green, blue, and peach) sitting on branches over the word
Image description: cartoon of four owls (purple, green, blue, and peach) sitting on branches over the word “September.”

A couple of weeks ago I was having breakfast with my friend, Tara, and we said at almost the same time something along the lines of, “Summer is great but I’m really looking forward to getting back to my routine.” For those of us on an academic cycle (and that includes non-academics who have school-aged kids), September gets us back to a more regular sense of schedule.

It’s easy to lament that because it usually means a change of pace. And for many of us September to April is a faster paced time. As an administrator, I’m on campus Monday through Friday for much of the summer as well. But hardly any of my colleagues are (because they’re busy at their research and prepping for new courses), and only a very few students are, and that just makes every day feel more spacious or something. I love campus in the summer. And I love my walk to work, which I seem unable to sustain once September comes. But I do miss the sense of routine that the more structured days of the school term bring.

And I’m consistent that way. I wrote a post back in August 2013 called, “Routines.” There I called routines the best thing about the end of summer. What’s good about routine?

What I like so much about a regular routine is that it establishes a rhythm to my day and my life. I don’t need to think, I can just fall into the beat of that rhythm. A routine at its best is a series of good habits, exercised effortlessly, with little thinking through.

But it’s hard to establish that rhythm in the absence of some structure, at least it was and is for me. It’s like flailing around in the dark or taking the very first arbitrary stab at a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

When I’ve got something solid to work around, things can start to fall into place. But for me (I’m sure others are better at this), it’s hard to create a good routine from dust. And that’s been my challenge this past year. So I am actually excited about getting back at it.

Yes, the rhythm. As I mentioned then too though, too much rigidity in the routine isn’t healthy for me. The routine gives the rhythm but there has to be space for some improv as well. Stuff comes up. Life happens. No routine is ever perfect. But if there is some basic structure to work with, a little hiccup here and there doesn’t bring the whole house down.

I’ve been sailing for over a week and 52 hours of that was a continuous stretch offshore, no land in sight. That’s about as far from my regular life, both literally and figuratively, as I’ll ever get. It’s comforting for a time, but if we did any long hauls offshore, like a Pacific crossing (I can dream), routine would have to take hold at some level to keep me grounded.

When I get home next week I’m going to be back at work. Back to my personal training. Back to regular running, including Sunday long runs with Julie. The blasted 100-day step challenge will be over (Sam wants it over too). The regulars for my Friday night women’s nights will all be back and we can get that going again. The week after that I start teaching again. And all of the committees I’m on will start meeting (I don’t mind — I like constructive committee work). And Tara and I will get together for breakfast once a week again instead of only every few weeks. Maybe it sounds hum-drum, but I like it.

What do you like most about routine?

fitness

100 days of counting steps: Are we there yet? #VirginPulse #GlobalChallenge! #GettheWorldMoving #WesternU

It’s Day 97! And like Tracy (see her blog post on wanting this to end any time now) I’m ready for the workplace team building step counting exercise to be over. It ends on my birthday. Yippee! Happy birthday to me!

Mostly I’m frustrated because my FitBit is broken (see Should Sam buy a new FitBit? What’s your two cents?) and while it counts steps it won’t sync with the app and so I have to manually enter my steps each day. Oh the horror! I know. It’s a ridiculous thing to mind but I found when my FitBit automatically uploaded the data and automatically synced with the Global whatever challenge app, I didn’t have to think about it. Steps were tracked and occasionally I just logged in to add bike miles. For some reason needing to remember each night and see what my steps were felt so much more onerous.

What I liked about the automatic counting was that I could pay attention or not. If it felt motivational, I went with it. If it started to feel oppressive I ignored it for a few days and just did my usual thing. Given that my usual thing is still pretty active that worked okay for me.

After 100 days of counting steps, where did I land? My average is somewhere between 18,000 and 19,000 steps a day thanks to dog companions, bike riding, and not driving very much. Also I learned that living in a large house with four stories makes a difference. I get up to 4,000 without even leaving the house thanks to basement laundry and lots of roaming from room to room looking for things. Here Garmin! Here heart rate monitor strap! Sports bras, come out come out wherever you are!

By comparison the average step count among those taking part at my university is 12,548.

But my team’s average is over 25,000 steps a day. Over-achievers! I’m part of a team with serious triathletes all training for Iron distance events. They easily leave me in the dust with all that running, biking, and swimming. They are the three activities the challenge tracks. I like the challenge of running with the big dogs. Being the one who aspires to keep up suits my personally. I don’t think I’d be happy being the top achiever on one of these teams.

I’m glad the challenge included my six bike rally days. You can see them below. Big big days.

I was less happy with the activities I do that it didn’t count, like paddling in Algonquin.

Even the portages only sort of count. I mean, yes it counts the steps but no special credit is given for the 50 lb canoe on your shoulders! Or the balance it takes to walk with a pack through ankle deep mud.

And strength training doesn’t count either.

Neither did all the carrying of patio stones and wood flooring and hampers of laundry I move about the house.

So while it’s one aspect of fitness I did find it shifted the focus away from other things I really care about.

Sam’s short version summary review of the challenge: I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot more when my FitBit was working and I didn’t have to think about it. And I’ll be glad come my birthday when we’re done.

fitness

Reblog: Big Hill Trail (Yellowknife)

Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Cate Creede on hiking in Yellowknife…

IMG_9780.JPG

The trail is more of a route than a demarked trail, twisting through root-y trees, up over lichen covered boulders and down sheer sides, jutting sideways and over any place feet can safely be placed on this pre-Cambrian rock, among these northern trees.  The trail is unserviced but marked by community members, mostly with tape, an occasional cairn.

Everyone who marked it used different tape — yellow and pink trail tape, green painter’s tape, occasionally, white and blue stripes.  It’s the kind of trail where there is no just settling in and walking — after every marker, I have to lift my head and scan for the next marker.  In the 9 km or so I walk (far further than the estimated distance, maybe because of all my back and forths looking for the trail!), there are maybe two straight stretches of 50 m or so, both of these on…

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canoe · fitness · nature

Getting dirty and doing hard things

For the 4th year in a row I did a backcountry canoe camping trip in Algonquin in August. The first year was just me and Susan. That’s how our friendship really began. Hi Susan! Thanks so much for inviting me that first year. I missed you this time!

Then for the next two years we went with an extended group of family and friends including our teenagers and Susan’s mom. This year it was back to another two person trip, me and Sarah.

We’d planned a more adventurous trip with more paddling given that it was just the two of us this time but life, including a late start on day 1, got in the way. I also began the trip pretty tired after a big week at work (more on that later) and I was more ready for rest and beautiful scenery than an active adventure. But we had a bit of both.

See my before and after boot photo below? That’s after a really muddy portage. And guess what? For the first time ever I carried my own canoe. I was pretty happy to learn how to do that. I didn’t quite manage to get it up on my shoulders solo but I didn’t have to. I am going to practise in the backyard though.

I also did a small stint of the trip in the stern of the canoe and got a lesson in steering.

So even though this trip was big on hammock naps and low on endurance exercise, I got to paddle each day and wake up in one of the most beautiful places in the world. There was also delicious coffee. I saw a beaver very close up! One jumped on the rocks while we were star gazing at night. I saw carnivorous plants. And I learned some new hard things.

As Sarah reminded me, “This isn’t easy. If it were there’d be more people here.” True. Especially the hilly, muddy, buggy portages!

fitness · swimming

Water, water everywhere– touring pools on vacation

This weekend I’m in South Carolina at my family’s annual cousins picnic.  My mother and her cousins and their kids (and their kids) have a get-together every year, and people take turns hosting.  Pools play a prominent role in  these reunions, as two of our regular hosts– my sister Elizabeth and my cousin Lee– have in-ground pools at their houses.

I’m a real sucker for pools and hot tubs (and indeed, any watery location for splashing, swimming, and floating).  Whenever I’m traveling, I try to stay at a hotel with a pool.  It’s a low-key way to get a little serenity and purposeful or playful movement.  It’s also a great antidote to the cramped conditions of flying.

Friday night was pool visit number one.  My sister’s family is lucky to have a backyard pool (which, FYI, requires a lot-a-lot of maintenance).  Here’s a picture of it taken by my very talented niece Grace:

View of a blue-water pool, wit two reclining chairs on its patio, backed by a black wrought-iron fence, and lake in the background.
View of a blue-water pool, wit two reclining chairs on its patio, backed by a black wrought-iron fence, and lake in the background.

Here’s a night view, with my nephew Gray:

My sister's pool at night, with blue-green water and underwater lights, with my nephew Gray ready to take the plunge.
My sister’s pool at night, with blue-green water and underwater lights, with my nephew Gray ready to take the plunge.

My favorite way to shake off travel fatigue is to immerse myself in water.  We frolicked and floated and attacked each other with large squirt guns (Gray is an expert at this), and got out of the pool, relaxed and mellow and smiling.

Saturday was our family reunion, and I drove my mother and two of the three kids to Myrtle Beach, SC– a three-hour drive.  Boy, was I ready for another pool experience.

Luckily, there was another pool awaiting my pleasure.  It’s this one:

An L-shaped pool with elevated hot tub, with a large patio, assorted arm and recliner chairs, and dunes in the background.
An L-shaped pool with elevated hot tub, with a large patio, assorted arm and recliner chairs, and dunes in the background.

It’s quiet here, but for most of the party there were a lot of folks (ages ranging from 6 months to 75 years) engaged in traditional pool-party activities.  My nephew Gray (age 12) spent about 7/8 of the reunion in the pool– not a bad call.  Tip: if you end up talking politics at a family gathering, it’s much more pleasant to do so in a pool.  Things just can’t get too heated (ok, that was my attempt at a silly joke.  Forgive me.)

Today I’m at a big hotel on the beach, spending a couple of nights with my sister and her kids before heading back to Boston (and tackling as-yet undone syllabi and other work to-do items).  The ocean is lovely.  However, there’s a coastal advisory about higher winds and rip currents, so actual swimming in the ocean is not advised.

Not to worry–pools are coming to the rescue.  Today (in fact, as soon as I post this), we are headed down to explore pools and hot tubs and lazy rivers.  Who knows, maybe we’ll discover a splash pad?  Here are a few pics of them:

A big patio with a blue-water pool and loads of reclining and arm chairs.
A big patio with a blue-water pool and loads of reclining and arm chairs.
Another undulating shape of a pool at dusk, with one of the high-rises in the background.
Another undulating shape of a pool at dusk, with one of the high-rises in the background.
A hot tub under a roof; there are 5 other hot tubs under the stars. Ahhh....
A hot tub under a roof; there are 5 other hot tubs under the stars. Ahhh….

So readers, what are your views on pools, and in particular seizing the opportunity to take the plunge?  I’d love to know.

fitness

Riding from the inside out

Last Saturday night, around a campfire, my friend and business partner presented me with a framed certificate of appreciation for the work I’ve been doing as volunteer director of Nikibasika, a youth development program in Uganda.  This campfire was the heart centre of our three day Triadventure, our annual fundraiser for the project.  I couldn’t stop crying.

The Triadventure is a kind of “choose your own adventure” athletic event — we take a bus up to a kids’ camp on Friday, where we run and/or swim (whatever distance we want, really), and play a charades-like game, then in the morning, call the kids in Uganda.  Then we paddle 11 kilometres on pretty big lakes, have lunch at a provincial park, then ride bikes 25 km to a small campground where we camp for the night.  The next morning, we ride our bikes 125 km back to Toronto.

I will be honest:  it’s a stressful event for me.  Along with doing some fairly considerable physical things, I feel the intense responsibility of the event going well, being meaningful and safe and fun for the community.  I feel incredible stress about raising the money.  With a tiny group of people, I made a personal commitment to a group of orphaned and vulnerable children 10 years ago whom I now know intimately, for whom I’m auntie and parent and friend and sponsor .  Every year, being able to raise the money feels precarious.  The project will end when the initial 52 kids are all grown and launched, but that’s still a few years away.

We have achieved amazing things in a decade — this teensy video shows some of the movement — and this one shows some of the “kids'” voices when we were there in May.  But over a decade, the core group of people has changed and evolved, relationships have come and go (I had a Triad-rooted romance and break-up), and the participants have gotten older and either have become less physically able or had kids or distractions — for a lot of reasons, less able to do the event.  It’s been hard to keep the momentum up, and this year was particularly hard.

 

One of the long-time community members — David — came with us to Uganda for the first time in May.  He is an amazing, open, loving, positive and creative person.

IMG_9570Over a beer after one of our days with the kids, we challenged him to recruit some new people to the Triadventure.  And he came through, with a team of seven people from a company he works with.

Along with David’s new people, we also invited people with kids to participate — either in the full athletic events or in a new one-night family event we created on Saturday.  It was amazing to have the kids there.

IMG_9537

Saturday had messy weather — we had to stop the canoe segment early because of crazy big waves, and we had some logistical issues where we ended up waiting at a marina for too long for rides to the next lunch park, as a storm circled around us and the crew and families at the park where we were supposed to have lunch got soaked and blown.  In contrast, we were dry and bored.

Those of us in charge had a bit of a tussle over how to proceed — whether we moved crew and families out of the lunch park, where they were getting wet and windblown, and therefore skipped the afternoon 25 km cycle — or whether we pushed crew to wait for us so we could ride.  As the only leader riding that day, I got bossy — not my best self — and insisted on riding.  I wasn’t super graceful about it, but something in me knew we needed to ride.

We got to the lunch park eventually, crammed down lunch in the micro-climate storm, commiserated with my brother-in-law who was crewing and had broken his toe moving a picnic table, and got on our bikes.

It was a good ride.  No rain.  One family rode with their kids, including a 10 year old who had broken her wrist the week before.  One couple — who met on the Triadventure — handed off their baby so one of them could ride.  Everyone simmered down. We arrived at camp and had a peaceful evening, with the campfire and our conversation about what gives us meaning resetting us all.

As we were talking at the campfire, one of the young women David had recruited mentioned that she was particularly moved by the stories of the kids in Uganda because she had a similar story.  I noted it and didn’t say anything.

Sunday morning, the long ride.  I was still feeling icky from how I’d handled the decision-making the day before, and raw in the way this event always makes me feel.  It’s a lot to hold, our commitment to these kids, the need to make and be part of community.  I rode most of the first 28 km leg by myself, finding some grounding in the best part of the long ride, the trees and country roads and lake and Sunday morning calm.  Ontario is very green this summer.

I volunteered to sweep the second leg, and Joh offered to sweep with me.  It’s the hilliest leg, and people struggle. It was sunny but windy.  Very quickly, I realized that the young woman who’d made the comment at the campfire the night before about having a hard story was fighting her way through this ride.

Joh was wind-breaking for another young woman, and I found myself riding alone with this woman I’ll call Elle.  We started talking and I asked her about her story.  She said she was happy to share, and told me about losing both her parents and her best friend before the age of 25. Her parents were immigrants and she has no other family here. She laughed a bit and said “I’ve really only just started to deal with my grief, so I cry all the time.”

She was riding a hybrid and wearing running shoes.  It was a hard road, and she was fierce. I kept promising her she’d get through and she climbed every hill, incredulous and protesting.  “YOU PROMISED THERE WERE NO MORE HILLS!”   She’d never ridden more than 60 km before. We made it to lunch and I hugged her.

Someone else swept the third leg, and Elle was last.  She came in in tears.  We made it clear that it was okay for her and two other people who were finding it hard to stop.  No one wanted to stop.

Joh and I set out for the last leg and Elle was right behind us.  “You guys can go ahead,” she said.  I knew the city leg could do your head in, and Joh and I, without conferring, both said “no, we’re with you.”  If you can trudge on a bike, Elle was trudging.  We encouraged and just rode, not too slowly, but always making sure she was with us.

After a while, Joh suddenly said “100km!”  I said “Elle, do you realize you’ve just ridden 100km?”

She laughed out loud.  “No fucking way!  I have never done that.”  If determination was a colour, it was bright purple, and it surrounded her.  She sped up.  “I can’t believe I’m keeping up with you!”

“Look ahead,” I said — “we’re catching up to people. Want to pass them?”

“I can’t,” she said.  Five minutes later, we were right behind them.  “Want to pass them?” I said again.  “YES!” she yelled.  She stood up on her pedals.  “If I can do this I can do anything.”

We passed three of our riders, and laughing and protesting, made it to our marshalling point at the Dairy Queen.  With my mouth full of chocolate dip, I asked David to lead the group to the finish line, and asked Elle to be right behind him.

cate cycling
Cate, in desperate need of more sunblock, finishes the 125km ride

We only had 18 athletes this year, and we raised just over $140,000 of our $145,000 budget. That’s magic.  And what happened to Elle as she rode that course was the same kind of magic. This event, this project, can’t be explained with logic — its truth is in the determination to do something that surpasses what you already know to be true, with what happens when you connect with elemental humanity, when you push yourself from the inside.

 

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who lives, works and rides in Toronto.  Nikibasika is still short of its goal for this year, so if you can possibly make a tax-deductible-in-Canada donation, it will go to a fantastic cause.  Everyone in Canada is a volunteer and all the money goes straight to the project. Click here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/nikibasika-and-triadventure-2017/

fitness

My Five-Year-Old Runner (Guest Post)

Today was a momentous day for me as a runner and as a mother. My son (who just turned five) and I went for our first real run together. And he ran for eight minutes! I’ve been waiting for this day since the day he was born. I didn’t think it would have come so soon. But here we are. Hopefully, the first of many glorious runs together.

My son is a tiny and shy. Though he’s talented in many areas (whose son isn’t?), he’s extraordinarily modest. So much so, that whenever he accomplishes something, usually the first thing he says to me is, “Mama, don’t tell anyone that I …”

I’ve never quite understood his humility. But I (mostly) respect it.

But today was different.

After gushing to him about his run, I asked him if I could tell my partner about how well he did. To my great surprise, my son said yes. Not only that, but he also allowed me to tell his cross-country coach.

This week my son started kindergarten at a new school. Big adjustment, especially for someone with his character and disposition. His school is quite small and their only organized sport is cross-country. Of course, the minute I heard that even kindergarteners were allowed join the team, I signed him up. Though he’s tiny, he’s speedy. And he’s always loved to run.

My son missed the first three weeks of practices. It didn’t help that the week he actually joined the team, the weather was in the mid-30s (Celsius) and obscenely humid. Nevertheless, he did his 20-minute practices three days this week.

On our run, I explained to him how runners need to pace themselves, lest they run out of energy too soon. I told him the story of the tortoise and the hare.

He told me his trick for determining whether or not he was going too fast. “Mama,” he said, “I know the difference between running and jogging; when I run, I hear the wind next to me in my ears, but when I’m jogging, I don’t.”

My son loves running and I think he’s quite good. But even if he’s not, I don’t care. My hope is that running, both with me and with his team, will bring him out of his shell, increase his confidence, and make him excited about an activity that he can do both alone and with others, hopefully, for a many years to come. Selfishly, I also look forward to the time we can spend together running.

When I was young (though not nearly as young as my son is), every weekend I would run with my parents. When I visit them, sometimes I still do. I value the bonds that running has allowed me to build with both family and friends, and I hope this is true for my son as well.

Lauren Freeman is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville. She is an avid runner and Ashtunga yoga practitioner. She has two children who, for the time being, she can still outrun.

aging · fitness

Choosing to Age Well (an interview)

Kathy (left) and Tracy (right) in Nantucket, August 2017. Photo description: two women both in white sleeveless tops, Kathy in wide black pants, Tracy in grey capris. White fireplace mantel in background.
Kathy (left) and Tracy (right) in Nantucket, August 2017. Photo description: two women both in white sleeveless tops, Kathy in wide black pants, Tracy in grey capris. White fireplace mantel in background.

Sam and I started the blog and our “fittest by 50” challenge back in 2012 because we wanted to be the fittest we’d ever been in our lives by the time we turned 50. We both got there, and we’ve both continued to pursue physical fitness as we approach our 53rd birthdays (and the blog’s 5th birthday).

This week I’m in Nantucket on the boat and visiting some friends who rented a house here for the week. I was chatting with my friend Kathy, who said she just started working with a trainer at age 61, I was searching around for a topic to blog about today and I decided an interview with Kathy would be just the thing.

Tracy: What made you want to start working with a trainer?

Kathy: I wanted the support and encouragement. I had started on my own a few years ago and I couldn’t maintain it because I went all out too fast. I wanted a trainer to have a slower start and stay balanced.

Tracy: Had you ever worked with a trainer before?

Kathy: For a short period when I was in my late-thirties.

Tracy: Can you give me a brief history of your “fitness/exercise” history in adulthood?

Kathy: After I had my daughter, when I was 34, I started working out. I was never an athletic kid. I went to the gym and did fitness classes. I liked the “aerobics” classes and step classes. I did some weights on my own. I did that for 10-15 years and was pretty fit the whole time. I was also white water canoing during that time. Then life got busy.

Tracy: Since then?

Kathy: I’ve done nothing pretty much for ten years.

Tracy: Do you have any specific goals for your work with your trainer?

Kathy: I want to feel strong and not be in pain and to improve my overall fitness. I went to the West Coast last year and we went to the top of Whistler. I had such a tough time walking down. It was hard on my knees and it really shocked me how much it hurt my knees and back.

I told my trainer I want to be “the most improved” at my gym. That’s my goal for the next year.

Tracy: How often do you go?

Kathy: I go three times a week with my trainer. And then I try to go 2-3 more times a week to yoga or other classes. I committed and paid in advance for 8 months of three times a week training.

Tracy: How long have you been going to your trainer? And have you been consistent?

Kathy: I’ve been going for seven weeks. Even when my trainer left and I had to wait a week for my new one, I went on my own.

Tracy: Have you felt any noticeable changes so far?

Kathy: Absolutely. My body aches are gone completely. I’ve got more energy sometimes. I’m not really sleeping better yet, but I think it’s too much “screen time.” I’m a lot stronger. For example, I can do so much more in my workouts now. I couldn’t do a single squat at the beginning. Now I can do three sets of 20 goblet squats.

Tracy: For your “most improved” goal, what are noticeable measures?

Kathy: They’re big on functional mobility at my gym and they ask you to do that test where you have to get up from the floor without using your hands. I can’t do that. I want to be able to. I see people doing things that I want to be able do. For example, kettlebell Turkish get-ups.

Tracy: Do you have any words of wisdom for other women, especially women in their sixties, who want to start a new fitness program?

Kathy: It’s amazing how fast you start seeing results. I was absolutely amazed.

Tracy: Thank you so much for talking to me and good luck with your new fitness program.