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.

4 thoughts on “Choosing to Age Well (an interview)

  1. Love the interview but hate the language of choice. There’s an element of choice for sure but so many of the conditions that occur in seniors aren’t choice at all, rather bad genetic luck. As I watch family members struggles with ALS and Parkinson’s, knowing there’s nothing they could have done, I’ve started to see it more it terms of luck than anything else. So yes, choose an active lifestyle but that may not be enough.

      1. Right. I mean I use those words too. See the post about aging and lifestyle choice. But right now it all feels very fragile, so much not in our hands.

  2. Great read. I’ve used personal trainers in the past many times to help with motivation but found this to be too expensive. My hubby and I bought bikes about 4 years ago and love cycling on the weekends. Seeing and feeling the benefits from outdoor exercise has been very encouraging and saving cash on gym memberships and personal trainers an added bonus. Its so important for our health to be active, I feel fitter at 51 than I did at 41, my aim is to reach my fittest.

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