fickle fitness?

I was 16 years old when I started actually going to the gym with my girlfriends to really “work out.”  I will date myself now and tell you that we wore leg warmers and neon color tights and headbands and did “high impact” aerobics.  That’s correct, the kind that since the 80s has been determined to wreak havoc on your joints.  I specifically remember doing aerobics for 1 hour straight, jumping as much as possible in my Reebok soft sole shoes, probably irreparably damaging my body with every landing.

vintage Reeboks

My gym had the very first “Stairmaster“…the one that looked like a huge set of stairs. Definitely not the sleek versions of today.  Those machines were killers!  Form? you ask? Well, that was immediately sacrificed for the quantity of flights you could climb.  We ruined our backs and our wrists, slumping over with twisted elbows to walk up  “just a few more flights.”

80's stairmaster

During my college years, the Stairmaster continued to evolve, and the instructors at my gym were more careful to check your form on the machines.  I still did my high impact aerobics. So much so that my roommate had to tape my shins every time I went to class because my shin splints were so bad.  (poor Katharine.  She worried about me.)  Never mind that we were constantly poor and .69 cents for a package of pita bread was all I could afford, and I ate one package per day. No vitamins, no healthy meals as upperclassmen;  just a fridge full of Diet Coke, and a cabinet filled with popcorn. Unhealthy habits and one adaptable body.

I started running.  I started running because I ditched the gym for a little while, having moved off campus.  I slowly built up my confidence, strength and endurance.  So running it was, and that’s all it was.

I discovered step class:

step class

Huge discovery.  I was obsessed.  I could do every move imaginable on that step, and with 2 to 3 risers to boot.  Alas, my love for step faded too.

Kick Boxing…loved that of course, just for a while.  I have to say though…gets you in great shape.  Pilates came next with some added cardiovascular benefit from the elliptical trainer or running on the treadmill.  Pilates personal training became extremely expensive, and I had to stop that.

“Spinning” or “Cycle”:

I had to call  my gym at 5:30 am to ensure a spot in these classes for the following day.  After I bought my cushion for the bike seat, my padded bike shorts, and my cycle shoes, I was good to go…for a while.

Yoga…ahh Yoga.  Love this.  I remember Lilias Folan on PBS  during the 70s.  She was such a serene soul as I remember when I watched her for those few minutes before Sesame Street or Mister Roger’s Neighborhood came on.  Back then I thought she was a little strange, but today I want to be surrounded by Lilias-es!

Karate!  I earned a blue belt in Kempo Karate when my kids were really young.  Loved that.  Learning Jiu Jitsu is a great way to learn how to protect yourself and become strong at the same time.  I miss Karate.  Maybe I’ll go back…

Currently, cross training is working for me now, but I’m interested in this Crossfit thing.

There is one source of exercise that I have really found to be good for working out at home.  I love this DVD, and it really works.  It is called “The Butt Bible” and the trainer’s name is Pauline Nordin.  She is Swedish and a little scary, but she keeps your attention and uses good old-fashioned exercises that work. (Hint: once you get to the exercises, you can turn down the TV volume to almost zero, and turn on your iPod mix. This softens the intensity of Pauline’s military style, and you can enjoy the workout a little bit more)

The Butt Bible DVD set by Pauline Nordin

p.s.  I cannot write about fitness trends without mentioning my “epic fail” at Zumba.  This is one fitness activity that I absolutely can not do.  My girlfriend once told me during class, “I think you are better off just running in place.”  HAHA!! She was so right.

 “Am I fickle, or is fitness fickle?”

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7 responses

  1. I think fitness is fickle because what we know about how our bodies work is always changing and because, let’s face facts, we are Americans and we get bored easily!
    My sister is really into cross fit right now. You should try it, I bet you’d love it! I think that running is great because you can do it no matter where you are, unfortunately I just can’t seem to like it. You know me, I love yoga. I wish you’d come back and do it with me again. I miss you!

    • i know court. i miss yoga with you. if i could only get my butt out of bed in the morning. Maybe when the sun is shining again when i wake up. Isabelle and I…you know…we like Cali. true about us getting bored! love you girl.

  2. keep writing…classic! I remember walking by that dorm room and it always smelled like popcorn! And people think you just get a good night’s sleep and look good…haha!

  3. A few observations after reading yet another wonderful piece by our favorite white Milton rapper, CalKMcD 🙂 🙂 :

    1) Is that caricature next to the Step Class article supposed to be Cal or was that just the animated picture that was pulled up? (if supposed to be Cal, it should have leg warmers……I remember those being worn a few times at Robinson’s by you……I DO remember Robin sporting those from time to time)

    2) Popcorn & Diet Cokes at Tufts? Greg, I hope you dropped by with a pizza for her from time to time if you could smell the aroma of the popping kernels. 🙂 You were only so poor because Tufts was like $1M a year……times that by 2 with Bobby being there and

    3) If your friend told you in Zumba that you should run in place (guessing that your dance moves had to be back from CYO Dance days circa 1982), I would have used some of those blue belt skills at Kembo Karate on her while saying “My foot just danced upside your head!” Who anointed her Jennifer Beals from “Flashdance”? 🙂 and finally

    4) I just won our department’s Weight Loss Challenge yesterday. Back on 1/10, 21 of us joined up at $10/pp to compete in a 36 day challenge. $210 total purse. Winner take all for “total weight loss percentage” (16 men, 5 women). Each got weighed in that day (separately & privately…..one handpicked judge to record everyone’s weight & keep it confidential & only they would keep that list). Final weigh in to be 2/15. I gave my $10 & weighed in at 225lbs. When I told a few others that I have joined, I distinctly remembering 3 people saying “Haha, thanks for YOUR donation. You have no shot!” They didn’t take me seriously. NEVER give me any what I call “F.U. reasons” to motivate. 🙂

    Anyone who knows me & how much of a competitor I am, especially with $$ on the line? You underestimated me. I then ate better, stayed pretty disciplined (no Ginger Ale, Pepsi or bread for me and no 2 medium/large pizzas/week only 2 slices 2x/week). I joined the gym 9 days into it, I never did less than 4mi./day on the treadmill power walking w/incline or running, 6 days/week & then for last 2 weeks, I’ve done nothing short of 5mi./day & was killing it. On that same day of the original weigh in, I texted my fiancee, Stephanie & simply said “Like Muhammad Ali once said ‘I’m going to shock the world.” I won the contest yesterday as I came in at 197lbs, a drop of 28lbs in 36 days. Hello $210. 🙂

    GREAT article as all, Mrs. Leg Warmers. 🙂 I’m waiting for the 1st publication of your stories to come out. I’ll be your Market Rep & set up appearance at all over; local bookstores, college campuses, etc. Now you just need to do a fitness book to where you write about fitness, nutrition, calories & all. It could simply be “CAL-orie stories.”

    • hahaaaaa! you, my friend are hilarious!! great job by the way, probably not too many Mike’s Pastries eaten lately!! i had no idea your were killin it fitness wise! impressive to say the least. you will be slim and trim for your wedding. just don’t get too skinny. And, as always, thanks for reading!! p.s. no that pic is not me. She is cute though!!! sans leg warmers! you sound like my father with setting me up with appearances. i can hear him now….;)

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